“Hello mom what are you up to?”
“Actually I am making cookies with Scott.”
“That sounds like fun.”
“It is, but I am feeling guilty.”
“Because I never did this with you when you were a child. I am sorry I was not a better mom.”
“Mom, you were a great mom and when would you have been able to do that with us when we were kids. You were always having to work. I do not want you to feel guilty. I want you to enjoy your time with Scotty. I love you very much. I will call you back later.”
As I hung up the phone I realized that this must be a conversation that mothers and their children have all the time. With mothers all over the world telling their children that they were sorry they were not better mothers. It is funny, I do not remember my mother as being a bad mom. What I do remember is a mom that worked tirelessly to give us a home and food on the table. You see my mom was just like millions of moms everywhere. She was a single mom. Her mom died when she was young. She was the oldest in the home at that time. And though she was a young teen, she immediately went into caring for and being the mother of her two younger siblings. Later she had a job outside the home as well.
She then married and divorced my biological father. He then abandoned us and it was just my mom and myself. She was a single mom. I remember as a little one my mom would sing the song, “Close to You,” by the Carpenters, to me. I remember the words to this day, “On the day that you were born the angels got together and decided to create a dream come true so they sprinkled moon dust in your hair of golden starlight and your eyes of blue.” She was on her own now caring for a toddler. I never felt unloved or unwanted.
It was a scary time for her, but you would not have known it. She again, optimistically, worked hard and cared for me at the same time. She then remarried. While they were together she gave birth to my little brother. Her second husband was an abusive man. I remember her telling us to never come between her and my step-father when he was being hard on her because she was afraid we would be hurt by him. She would always send us out of the room.
She was always trying to care for and protect us from harm. I remember that our home did not have central heat and air. We had a little space heater that would heat my room. During the wintertime, mom would get up early, strike a match, turn on the gas and light up the space heater. She would then shiver in front of the heater until the room got warm. Then she would wake us up. That way we could get ready in a warm room. I am so grateful she was never harmed by the flames. I remember when our heat was cut off one winter because we did not have the money and could not pay the bill. She put me in a bed with extra covers to keep me warm at night. I remember going to prom in a dress a friend had made for me and her being very ill. She was anemic and my step-father would not let her go to the doctor. I remember her having to be hospitalized because she became so ill.
I remember when finally she was able to get away from my step-father. She was not given continual child support and again she was on her own raising two children as a single mom. I remember her working tirelessly to provide a home for us.
After her divorce from my step-father we moved into government housing. We moved into these little efficiency apartments with only a small black-and-white TV, one chair, sheets for curtains and two beds. I remember she would come home from a long hard days work and prepare our meals for us. She would then clean the kitchen and she would curl up in her favorite chair and fall asleep from exhaustion. I remember her as a hard working mom who had to plead with a co-worker to give her a ride to work in another town, because we did not have a car. She would help pay for the gas in order to get the ride. I remember she did all she could to give us a home and provide for us.
It is true, I do not remember that there was time for baking cookies, but what there was time for was pretty amazing. She showed us unconditional love and support. I remember how when we had a car, and we would go to the neighboring town she would turn up the radio loud and we would sing to our heart’s content. She continually instilled in us a love for music that my brother and I have to this very day. I remember how she would scrounge and save to send me to band camp, because she knew how I loved it so.
I remember when her payday would come around she would buy us supper at the local Dairy Queen, the only take-out place in our small town.
She always took in family and friends who had no where else to live. She taught me about what it truly meant to be hospitable. She taught us that it was not about whether you had enough too share, but sharing what you had.
I know she was not perfect, but she tried as hard as she could everyday to give us the best she could. So no there was no time for baking cookies, but what she was able to make time for was pretty amazing. I remember now, and will never forget what she did make time for…
She made time for us. And I will always be grateful and love her for that.