My mom is a complex woman. She grew up a good girl, in a conservative Baptist family. Her folks were from the South, and relocated to Seattle shortly after my mother was born, in the early days of WWII. Her childhood memories are only of Seattle. Actually - had she been something other than a good girl - she was a teenager in Seattle at a time when she could have seen a young Jimi Hendrix playing downtown at the Spanish Fly. But I digress - because she simply wouldn't have and didn't do that. She was beautiful - with a killer figure. Really. She looked like Kate Winslet in Titanic, only more brunette.
Her mom was the quintessential homemaker. Her home was always pretty and smelled of good cooking. And she could sew. In fact, she sewed costumes for showgirls, sitting late at night, hand-stitching sequins for extra money. And she sewed clothes - pretty much all of them - for both her girls. From Vogue patterns, no less. And my mom's high school job was at a Seattle shoestore, so she was pretty much the most stylish thing around.
But here's what I learned from my mom - something she learned from her mom: Work hard. Don't think you can't do it, particularly if you haven't even tried.
My mom can knit, sew and quilt, crochet, run a computer, keep a beautifully clean house, write and present a sermon, shovel a driveway, do all kinds of needlework (tapestry, embroider, counted cross stitch, crewel), draw and paint, drive in a complicated city, cook, ride a horse, fix a fence, make a child behave, do a mean breaststroke, run a ministry.
She's planted rows and rows of trees to try to duplicate her Seattle home on the Montana plains. She's given birth to four children, and grieved two miscarriages. She made a loving home in her home for her mother, my grandma, after my grandpa passed away. She looks out for her neighbors - at 72, she's about the youngest one of them these days. When they were still ranching, she pulled many calves, assisting a straining cow to push her baby from the dark into the light of life. Last year, she locked herself out of her house, and crawled in through an unlocked window.
I love my mom. I don't know what I'd do without her. I'm fortunate that our generations are fairly close. I still had a grandmother well into my forties. I hope my mom continues in good health for a good many years yet. Not that she hasn't had a few struggles, but she keeps her chin up and keeps on going.
She's pretty amazing. I'm pretty blessed.
Mother's Day is coming up. No better time than now to say, "I love you, Mom."