Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Woman Inside

Mom being Mom

My Mom was amazing.
She was the force behind:
Meals appearing at clockwork intervals.
Soiled clothes in hampers being replaced by clean, folded clothes in neat stacks in drawers.
Floors scoured to a mirror finish.
Dirty dishes disappearing from the table.
Clean dishes appearing.
Yummy snacks, (ie. Puddings, cakes, pies, pastries) showing up with amazing regularity.
Gardens stretching, lush and weed-free for miles.
Lawns being mowed.
Pets fed and cared for.
Kids travelling to and from school.
Deadlines met.
Bills paid on time.
New, hand-made outfits appearing.
Hired men cared for.
Doctor's appointments kept.
Sewing and other women's clubs attended.
Bedtime routines honoured.
Sicknesses nursed.
Arguments refereed.
Church attended.
In fact, she was the driving force behind every facet of our daily life.
Always there.
To me . . . just Mom.
When I was four, she bought me a pair of skates.
Sat me on our front step and strapped them on my feet.
Then took me across the yard to the ice-covered street and taught me how to skate.
Once I got my balance, she skated along behind me for a while.
Encouraging, instructing and safe-guarding.
Finally, when she was sure of me, she struck out on her own.
Swooping and spinning across the ice like a bird.
I stopped and watched.
Mom?
This was the woman who spent her days 'looking after'.
Tending.
Feeding.
Supplying.
For the first time in my four years, I realized that there was more to my Mom than what I had always seen.
Here was a woman who had been talented enough to skate competitively.
I later discovered that she had also been invited to play ball professionally.
Offered a scholarship to university.
And many other opportunities.
All of which she set aside for my Dad.
My siblings.
And me.
I watched her as she spun in a tight circle.
Going faster and faster.
Coming to a final, breathless halt.
And skating smoothly away.
Backwards.
Wow.
My Mom.
She skated past me.
“Mom?”
She spun and looked at me.
“I'm hungry.”
She smiled. “Time to go in, dear?”
I nodded.
Immediately, she stopped and reached for my hand, helping me carefully back across the yard to our front step.
Mom was just 'Mom' again.
But just for an instant, I had caught sight of something else.
Someone else.
The woman inside.

9 comments:

  1. It's so hard for kids to understand that their parents are people.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is beautiful. I'd have to say it wasn't until I became a mom that I started seeing my mom more clearly. Payback time I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mom and her best friend, Mary Diegans, who would later be known as Aunt Bunny, figure-skated together for 3 or 4 years. Mom also talked about wanting to try out for the AGPBL back in 1943; she had her money saved up and was ready to go. Grandpa flatly refused to let her go, telling her that women were only good for serving their husbands. That's one of those things I hold against Grandpa to this day. I occasionally take out 'A League of Their Own' and watch it, and try to imagine Mom down there competing for a place on a team.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Seems Moms are people too lol
    Not appreciated until we grow up and see exactly what it is they do.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Grandma was also a vicious Rook player.

    Just sayin'...

    ReplyDelete
  6. My daughter tells me I'm getting to be like Grandma. But I know I'm a long way short.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That is so beautiful Diane, it's always amazing to find out your parents had a life before us... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your mum certainly is amazing!
    All those talents in one package, still getting meals on the table on time. Which is a talent all of its own.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh Diane. Once my chest isn't so tight I might be able to tell you how much this one meant to me. My mom is one of my heroes. In the world of motherhood she is my top hero of all time. But the older I get the more I realize that in the world of woman she has a top spot all her own too. Thank you for sharing. Smiles -

    ReplyDelete

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