Sunday, May 12, 2013

Remembering My Mom

Today, is a day to honour our mothers and I'd like to share some memories of my mom. She passed almost 18 months ago at the age of 86. This is a slightly modified and edited (for family privacy reasons) version of the tribute I wrote for her memorial service. The minister read it to those of us who gathered. 

Mom raised four kids while helping dad run the farm. She cooked, cleaned, laundered, sewed, knit, gardened, nursed, taught, played with and chauffeured us - and still managed to socialize and entertain friends. She was always ready to listen to anyone who needed an ear or lend a helping hand when she could. I have no idea how she managed to do it all and retain her sanity. I know her sense of humour went a LONG way!

Mom wasn't much for swearing or hearing others swear for that matter. So we’d occasionally have to use phrases such as "brown sugar" or "fudge"! If we told her about something that had gone wrong such as something breaking down or an injury of some kind - she’d say “And did you say darn!?!”

I remember one time we were talking about being more polite with our language in public. The conversation actually occurred while we were grocery shopping. As we stopped in the meat department, we decided that referring to chicken breasts as “breasts” was not polite public conversation. We tried to request chicken bosoms but neither of us could pull it off with a straight face! However when it was just us talking we almost always called them chicken bosoms after that!

In the early 1980’s, mom and I started to update the family history for her mother. We then tackled dad’s family history. We spent countless hours researching and trying to write the histories of each branch of the family. We made a few trips to Winnipeg to read old newspapers and other documents that were on microfiche at the Provincial Archives. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I had to remind mom that we weren't there to read the recipes or the store ads of the day! Then there were the times when we’d be trying to write and would box ourselves into a corner with words. If only we’d have had computers back then!

You’d think we’d have stopped after the first two books were done but nope - we went on and did the history of the little country school district that the family farm was a part of. The three books were a lot of work – far more than either of us ever anticipated but I know I wouldn't even have attempted any of them if mom had not been there to work beside me on the projects.

We always enjoyed spending time together. After I moved away from home, we both looked forward to my weekends home or any other visits. One of our favourite weekend things, was to go shopping on Saturday’s. We’d leave for nearby towns in the morning and hit the sales. If we saw a garage sale sign we had to check it out. I got several things for my first apartment that way!

On one of our shopping days, we were in a fairly new Canadian Tire store. I don’t recall what we were looking for, but we ended up in the clock section. Before we left, we set the alarms on at least 4 or 5 wind up clocks to go off at 15 minute intervals over the next hour or so!

If any of the grocery stores were handing out free samples, she’d try and convince me that meant we didn’t have to go anywhere else for lunch! Of course we always ended up heading somewhere for a sit down lunch and a coffee break in the afternoon before heading home.

Food and recipes were a major topic for mom. She was always clipping or writing down recipes. Dad joked that she’d have to live to at least 150 to try all of them! She taught all of us kids to cook. Some of her recipes were a handful of this and a pinch of that - so occasionally I’d have to get her to measure things as we cooked together so I could duplicate the recipe in my own kitchen. Now I make the stuffing the same way she did! When mom made the stuffing, she always said she had to make enough for all the “birds” – one to go in the oven and extra for us kids to each fill a cereal bowl to eat for breakfast or lunch!

Keeping enough milk in the fridge was a real challenge when we were all home – even if only to visit. We all drank a fair bit of milk and mom always wondered if she’d ever get her calves weaned!

When I was young, I’d enter baking in the local fair. I’d do all the baking and mom did all the dishes! Not really fair, but I couldn't have entered or won as many prizes if she hadn’t taught me so well or helped with the clean-up.

In the last few years, we got into a routine of me calling her every Sunday morning at 11AM. We’d talk for an hour about almost anything. Health, weather, family, friends or the wildlife she’d seen around the yard. I’d read her one of my blog posts or some of the humour emails that I’d gotten. Of course we had to talk about food. She always wanted to know if I’d tried any new recipes and what I was planning on making for lunch and supper that day. She loved peanut butter and chocolate almost as much as I do! She also had a real passion for lemon – especially lemon meringue pie!

The last few months, our conversations were much shorter but also more often. We never knew which one might be the last one and we always ended the call by saying we loved each other.

I really miss those calls but I miss her even more.

We have all been very blessed to have such a wonderful mother. She was always there when we needed her without being pushy or judging. She gave us all of her love and understanding. We had the best mother we could ever have asked for and she will be forever loved and deeply missed.

Never far from our thoughts and forever in our hearts.


Happy Mother's Day Mom!


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