Like Mother…

 In Inspirational

We imitate what we see.

I am a mimic, a visual learner, and some may even say a nosy person. Therefore, it was through observation that I acquired my mothering skills. As a little girl, I loved to play house. I quickly learned how to swaddle my first baby doll, “Betsie Wetsie” in her flannel blanket and constantly fed her with a tiny plastic bottle and waited for the water to drain through her chubby pink rubber body and exit out of the hole in her bottom. Then I would change her wet cloth diaper, wrap her back up, and put her in my rusted, red wagon for a bumpy afternoon ride down the crumbling sidewalk of our village. One Christmas, Santa brought me a pink and blue bassinette so I could bathe her.  When she was squeaky clean from the Ivory soap, I rubbed baby oil all over her, face and all, and sprinkled her with a thin layer of talcum powder. Resembling a powdered sugar donut, I clutched my beloved “baby” and rocked her to sleep while singing an original lullaby.

When a child is born, so is a mother.

I couldn’t wait to be a real mother. I loved being pregnant and I will never forget the absolute euphoria when our first child was born. Thirty-one years ago, unless there was a problem that required extra diagnostic tests, you waited until the exact delivery time to find out the sex of your child. The entire birth experience was filled with surprises. Our nursery was decorated in neutral colors and I had a collection of yellow and light green sleepers waiting for the arrival of our newborn. When our son arrived twenty months later, we felt like we had the perfect family and blue outfits replaced the pink ones.

We do what we know.

Strict nap schedules. Tiny triangle peanut butter and jelly sandwiches next to little bowl of spaghetti  “O’s” and tiny spoons. Leisurely afternoon walks around the block pushing the umbrella stroller and lazy summer days at the Golden Meadows Swim Club with friends and their children replicated my childhood. Licking homemade ice cream cones on the patio while watching captured lightening bugs in grass-filled Mason jars, flaming Christmas puddings which were only admired but not consumed, and assorted colorful garnishes on every dinner plate were evidence of lessons well-learned from my mother. Traditions that I grew up with filtered into my own family routine and became a part of my personal fabric. The famous weekly chore chart that my mother cleverly devised for the four of us had to be adapted. I wrote simple tasks on Popsicle sticks which became the “chore sticks” that our kids selected from on summer mornings before their Weekly Reader Magazine time. I learned so much from my mother and I felt confident when it became my turn to be a mom. Generosity, ingenuity, strength, and creativity were just a few of her special gifts.

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” (Tenneva Jordan)

But motherhood and fatherhood blurred together for me in 1993 and parenting seemed a little more serious. There was no margin for error. No second opinion from another adult was offered. I was busy monitoring and protecting my children while they were anxiously watching me, fearful of my mortality. I was their security and they were my life.

“Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.” (Unknown)

When the phone call came alerting me that my daughter had the winning entry for her age group in the local newspaper’s Mother’s Day contest, I was caught off guard. She had been watching me, just as I had watched my mom! Here is what she observed:

My Mom

Mom was the only mother to attend the Boy Scout meetings. She had no choice because a few years ago we lost my father.

Suddenly, mom entered the frightening world of single motherhood. Throughout everything, she remained strong and courageous. She inspired me.

Today, mom continues to amaze me. Her sparkling personality sets her apart from everyone. Mom has taught me what it means to be a strong successful woman. I only hope one day I can be just like her.

The greatest compliment I’ve ever received was being told, “You’re exactly like your mom!”

I hope it is true.

(Samantha Kluxen age 16)

Samantha is a grown, married woman now and a mother of a young son and a daughter. She plants pansies in her own garden and has a birdbath. When I visit her house I notice the kid’s artwork displayed on the kitchen cabinets just like I used to do with her pictures. Gifts for their Father’s Day celebrations are handmade by her children and dated. Story time follows bath time every night.

She learned her lessons well.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms everywhere who work so hard every day to make home the comforting nucleus of our lives. Your good deeds are appreciated and your love is always felt. If you can, reach out and give your Mom a big hug. If you cannot, may the warm memories of her lessons wrap around your heart  and make you smile.

A special thanks goes to my 84 year-old mother for all of the lessons that she gave me and for the ones that I am still learning.

I love you Mom!




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