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The Whitehurst Diaries: My Mothers Day

In a far-reaching essay on Motherhood, from old times when her mother and Jim's mother, both in highly honored professions, were listed on Sharon & Jim's birth certificates as housewives. It starts with an observation on young mothers: 'A Mother is not endowed with wisdom and patience at the moment when that tiny bundle of life is placed in her arms. Looking back, most of us will mourn the times when we lacked understanding, punished a child too severely, felt too busy, too burdened to listen or to play.' and continues to today, when she finds herself the pampered matriarch of the family! -
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By Sharon Whitehurst

The phone rang at 8:30 Saturday evening. A glance at the tiny screen identified the nightly call from my son.

"Hello," I answered in the cheery tone reserved for family members and friends. Without preamble, the responding voice queried, "Aren't you glad you have Dawn?"


I chuckled, knowing that the remark referenced the beautiful bouquet delivered on Friday afternoon, an example of my daughter-in-law's generous thoughtfulness. [I had posted a photo on Face Book so that she and Howard could see the bouquet taking pride of place on the living room table.]

"I'm grateful for Dawn--and for you--every day!" The delivery of the flowers was good timing.

A trip to the produce market in Casey County had ended with me phoning Jim for rescue when the brake caliper on the van I prefer to drive stuck and refused to release.

Jim appeared, tunked on something inside the wheel and offered me the Nissan to bring home while he took the recalcitrant mini-van.

Waiting on the front doorstep, presented by a loving feline, was a small ring-necked snake, still showing signs of life. Jim to the rescue again.

I put away the groceries and walked out to my flower garden as a way of settling rather ruffled feathers; tires crunched on gravel and I turned to see an unfamiliar vehicle trundling up the lane. The driver, a smiling woman, emerged holding out the vase of flowers--an instant balm for my stress.

I had noted earlier in the week that Mother's Day would be observed on the 8th of May.

Jimmy's Mom died in 2003 and mine in 2007. I spent a few moments nostalgically remembering--I usually chose a garden-related gift for my Mother-in-Law and a new book--or book shop gift certificate - for my Mother.

Both women today would be termed as 'professionals.'

My mother completed the required two years of 'teacher's training' shortly after her 18th birthday and until marriage in her early 20's and my arrival three years later she taught in the one-room schoolhouses of her hometown.

Jim's Mom, at that age, was still in 'nurses' training.'

Both women put their careers on hold to raise their children. Both returned to college to refresh their credentials and work again in mid-life.

On my birth certificate and on Jim's [both of us born in Vermont] in the space for listing Occupation of Mother, both women are designated 'house wife.' Like many women of their generation, family and homemaking became their primary focus.

I've heard it said that we must become mothers in our turn before we can appreciate the sacrifices, the emotional and physical endurance required to keep a home and bring up our children 'in the way they should go.'

A Mother is not endowed with wisdom and patience at the moment when that tiny bundle of life is placed in her arms. Looking back, most of us will mourn the times when we lacked understanding, punished a child too severely, felt too busy, too burdened to listen or to play.

This weekend in churches across the land, time has been set aside to honor mothers. The women of each congregation bring home a long-stemmed rose or carnation, the stalk already bent from the too tight clasp of small warm hands. We smile at the procession of children, each proudly carrying a flower to mother, to grandmother, and then to those 'Mothers in Israel' who have long been the backbone of children's programs.

I am mildly astonished to find that I am now the matriarch of my family! I have been pampered this weekend.

The gift of flowers on Friday was followed by the arrivalon Saturday afternoon of my daughter and son-in-law presenting a bucket of freshly picked local strawberries--and enough whipping cream for several shortcakes!

I was an honored dinner guest at their Gradyville home today along with the friend whom daughter Gina calls 'my second mother.'

I miss my own Mother. Though I often felt she didn't understand the adult I became, there were deep bonds. When a piece of music delighted me, I could share that with her. We could enjoy together the word-craft of a writer we admired, pore over vintage family photos on a companionable afternoon. She passed on to me a penchant for proper grammar, and the ability to transpose a hymn tune 'by ear.'

I miss Jim's Mom--her store of practical wisdom, her love of nature. She had a contagious enthusiasm for impromtu outings--rounding up her available adult children and grandchildren, packing a lunch and heading us all to the blueberry patch, or to harvest 'fiddleheads' along Otter Creek in the spring.

With the inevitable passing of generations we lose our mothers and grandmothers, along with those beloved women unrelated by blood who have nurtured and encouraged us.

'Mothers' have been lauded through sentimental songs and florid poetry; the observance of 'Mother's Day' with its attendant air of commercialism is perhaps a far cry from earlier tokens of appreciation that might have included a hand made card, a bouquet of wildflowers.

I have enjoyed the gifts chosen and presented by my son and daughter and their spouses. Even more, I cherish the on-going affirmation of their affection.


This story was posted on 2016-05-09 05:36:32
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