Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Behind the Apron

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 for an instant, I had caught sight of something else.
Someone else.
The woman inside.
That day.

19 comments:

  1. Mom was one with multi-talents for sure. She really wanted to play baseball; in fact she was all ready to head for Chicago to try out for the AGPBL in 1943. She had her money all saved up and was ready to go but Grandpa flatly refused to let her go. It's one of the things that I'll always hold against Grandpa. He was convinced that all Mom needed to be was a domestic...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My heart aches for all the things she could have done. But I am so grateful for things she did!

      Delete
  2. What kind of world would we be living in right now if your mom had been able to follow her dreams? I think she had a more important job to do.....and she did it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would have been different, indeed, Delores! And I am so grateful to her!

      Delete
  3. This is a beautifully written memory of your mom, Diane. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. She sounds like such an all-around lovely person, Diane. From everything you've written, she never pined for what could have been, just gave herself wholly to what needed done. That is true selflessness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's so true, Jenny! She was the most selfless person I've ever met!

      Delete
  5. She sounds inspirational and truly lovely. I do wonder whether in the dark moments we all have whether she had any regrets for the might of beens - and suspect not. I really, really hope not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were never even given a hint. It wasn't until she was ill and could no longer speak for herself that Daddy told us just how much she had missed. We were shocked!

      Delete
  6. I miss Mom! She was always there for us kids, and the neighbours, and the hired hands cooking and darning socks and patching jeans. It is amazing that she wasn't skinny as a rake, she worked so hard. I miss my sibs too! Love, Chris

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your mom chose what she loved and wanted and taught her children and grandchildren to make their own decisions and live their own dreams. She was a woman of her times and someone to be very proud. Strong women (which we all are) are what makes the world go round. .

    ReplyDelete
  8. If only more of use were allowed to see and know "the woman inside", perhaps there would be more appreciation than the 'taking for granted' that goes on so much these days.
    You were very lucky with the choices your mum made.

    ReplyDelete

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