nostalgia

How Can You Thank a Mother?

Photo by Valeria Zoncoll on Unsplash

One of my earliest and best memories is of my mama. I’m in my small plastic pool in our unfenced back yard in the woods in Pinehurst, Texas, shivering as a cloud blocks the sun. As it moves past and the warmth comes back, Mama sings, “Here comes the sun, little darling.”

Those days were long to three-year-old me. They must have been longer to my twenty-three-year-old mother. When he could get it started, Daddy drove our only car to work. We didn’t have a phone. Mama and I watched Captain Kangaroo every morning on the one channel we could get on our black and white TV as I ate my Captain Crunch.

My great-grandparents were our closest neighbors. It was a short walk to their gate where I stood and called, “Grandpaaaaa, Grandpaaaaa, come let me in.” He’d come to the gate shirtless and sweaty from his work while mocking me in a little girl’s voice, “Come let me in, Grandpa.” Other than Daddy coming home in the evening, those visits were the only thing Mama had to look forward to day after day. But I never thought about that, and Mama never hinted. She made every day special and fun.

Mama walked me to class my first morning of kindergarten. She organized and came to all our class parties. Back then, I hated it when the other kids in class hugged her, but now I understand.

She doctored my sister and me through countless sicknesses. I still have the little rubber giraffe she brought me when I had my tonsils taken out in the old hospital in downtown Cleburne.

Mama worked in the high school cafeteria where all the students loved her. She worked hard but loved her coworkers and every kid who came through her line. And each month, she’d get out her notebook and budget every dime to make sure we had what we needed and more.

After all day in the school kitchen, and after making sure that we made it to sports or boy scouts or band or whatever was going on, she cooked dinner and kept the house spotless.

Every holiday was a big deal in our home. Mama made our house look like a winter wonderland for Christmas. We made decorations. We baked cookies. We left notes for Santa, and he always drank his milk and left a few crumbs.

Friends were always welcomed in our home, and Mama considered many of them her own. Ryan, and Kenny, and Travis. Any friend from college who dropped in with me unexpectedly. Any bull rider who was traveling with me from one rodeo to another. Even when I brought friends who were too drunk to walk, she always went out of her way to make everyone feel at home.

Later, my mom became one of my best friends who was always ready for an adventure. She rode with me to little rodeos all over the state and sat patiently, sometimes for hours, until my event, which often only lasted a few seconds. When I lived in South Texas and asked on a whim, “Want to drive to Mexico?” Neither my mom nor dad hesitated. “Let’s go!”

Even today, as she is hurting, or tired from cancer treatments, she greets her family and friends with her most cheerful voice, gets excited over her grandkid’s accomplishments, and does her best to keep things normal.

Of all the ways my life has been blessed, there’s nothing better, yet nothing that I’ve taken more for granted, than my mama. I believe I’m one of the luckiest people ever born on this earth, and no “thank you” could ever be enough.

About Nowhere Tribune

A husband and daddy, striving to love his neighbors and be kind to his pets. I love good food, good beer, and a few good friends. My other interests are hiking, taking walks, lifting weights, reading books by manly authors like Hemingway and Twain, and splitting fire wood with my bare hands.

Discussion

12 thoughts on “How Can You Thank a Mother?

  1. I agree with you, I think you’re very lucky to have a mother like that. And I’m glad for you that she is still hanging in there, in her battle against cancer. Having a parent as supportive as your mother has been, is priceless, and I think this world would be a much better place if more parents were as supportive of their children as her.

    Posted by Tippy Gnu | February 28, 2019, 8:17 am
  2. My mom works in oncology and she often says the people with cancer are the nicest people you will ever meet. It sounds like your mother is no exception. I honestly have no idea how to thank a mother.

    Posted by Shayne | February 28, 2019, 10:20 am
    • That’s interesting, isn’t it? I recently read a book by a man who died of cancer; in it, he said he was grateful for his cancer because it made him appreciate his life so much more than he had. Maybe the lesson for the rest of us is to live as if we were dying.

      Posted by Nowhere Tribune | February 28, 2019, 10:23 am
  3. What a nice entry, super sweet. We can never repay our parents, nor is it our job. We can take the best parts of them and be the best we can be. That is thanks enough

    Posted by Clever Girl | February 28, 2019, 2:15 pm
  4. What a great post honoring your mother. She sounds like an amazing person. I hope she is not in pain.

    Posted by Snowbird In Training | April 14, 2019, 5:11 am

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