From Where I Sit

By Pat Spilseth, columnist

It’s unsettling to acknowledge how many habits of our parents annoyed us when we were kids. Today, many of us realize we’re doing the same things. Who hasn’t shaken a pointed finger of disapproval and said, “I told you not to do that and stand up straight and don’t roll your eyes at me… What were you thinking?” And how many of you still hang laundry on a line outdoors and iron like Mom did? And how about those splatter-stained recipes for “comfort” food we still bake when the kids tell us how they miss Grandma’s chocolate chip cookies or favorite hamburger hot dish? Of course, most of us need a cup or two of coffee in the morning to wake up, just like Mom.  

This past week, I rediscovered  my favorite clipping of a short essay by Dianne Lorang of Belgrade, Mont. The yellowed, food-stained copy has no more identification than the author, but it’s been in my files for years. I still treasure the tattered clipping which says so much about a mother’s love.  

Remember that favored “Love” chapter from the Bible, which some of us used at our weddings? Ms. Lorang used the same verse format when she wrote “The Love Chapter for Mothers.”

“If I talk to my children about what is right and what is wrong, but have not love, I am like a ringing doorbell or pots banging in the kitchen. And though I know what stages they will go through, and understand their growing pains, and can answer all their questions about life, and believe myself to be a devoted mother, but have not love, I am nothing.

“If I give up the fulfillment of a career to make my children’s lives better, and stay up all night sewing costumes or baking cookies on short notice, but grumble about lack of sleep, I have not love and accomplish nothing.

“A loving mother is patient with her children’s immaturity and kind even when they are not; a loving mother is not jealous of their youth nor does she hold it over their heads whenever she has sacrificed for them. A loving mother does not push her children into doing things her way. She is not irritable, even when the chicken pox has kept her confined with three whining children for two weeks, and does not resent the child who brought the affliction home in the first place.

A loving mother is not relieved when her disagreeable child finally disobeys her directly and she can punish him, but rather rejoices with him when he is being more cooperative. A loving mother bears much of the responsibility for her children; she believes in them; she hopes in each one’s individual ability to stand out as a light in a dark world; and she endures every backache and heartache to accomplish that. 

“A loving mother never really dies.  As for home baked bread, it will be consumed and forgotten; as for spotless floors, they will soon gather dust and heel marks. As for children, well, right now toys, friends and food are all-important to them. But when they grow up it will have been how their mother loved them that will determine how they love others. In that way she will live on.

“So care, training and a loving mother reside in a home, these three, but the greatest of these is a loving mother.”

Remember your mom who made breakfast before you ran off to school and had a hot meal and homemade cookies for the family in the evening. Remember her combing your hair and giving you your weekly allowance so you could go to the movies? And how about those Buster Brown shoes she insisted you wear so your feet wouldn’t be deformed? Remember holding her hand walking to your first day of school and sitting next to her in church Sunday morning? Remember how she fretted telling you about the birds and the bees? And those awful days she dared to ride with you in the car when you practiced driving for that dreaded parallel parking exam?  

Remember the last time you held your mom’s hand? Many years later she continues to remain in our hearts. Be a source of love, the kind that reflects her loving care, to those around you. No matter how old we get, we’ll always miss mothers who loved us so much.

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