Most of us older seniors have already lost our mothers and only have our memories of them stored safely in our minds. Others, whose moms are still with them, are able to tell their moms how much they appreciate all the things they did for them throughout the years.
I've had a lot of time to think about things since my back surgery and have come to many new conclusions about my mother and the years we had together. It took many days and nights to go over the years, but it was well worth it in the end. I came away from this soul searching experience with a new outlook on our previous relationship and perhaps why she did some of the things she did.
Perhaps, in many ways, I resented her leaving my father many years ago. I accepted her explanation of why she divorced him, but still wanted us to be a family. I only got to see him once a year and was never accepted by his new wife and that made the visits tense to say the least.
As a child I went through a series of stepfathers who only seemed to tolerate me as I was part of the package. I just stayed out of their way as much as possible while longing for my real father to come back. I have now come to the conclusion that my mother married those men to have enough money to take care of me.
She spent hours at the sewing machine making clothes for me from the chicken feed and flour sacks. Back then, they came in pretty patterns, and due to the scarcity of money during the war years,
I have no idea how many hours she spent making my doll clothes while I was at school. I had an adult-style doll. She even made a black bra and panties to go with a negligee and robe. And there was a cowboy outfit with a vest and gun belt as well as a majorette costume with boots with tassels on them and a tall hat finished off with a white chicken feather.
It was the best Christmas present ever and I loved my Cindy and all her fancy clothes. Looking at them now, I have to marvel at the ingenuity she used in making all the evening gowns and long coats to match as well as the other clothes. Parts of an oil tablecloth and even pieces of cereal boxes were used to create her wardrobe. The tiny hand stitches to put them all together are amazing and I wonder now how she did it all.
As I became a teenager, she only furnished me school clothes and shoes; everything else I had to buy myself. Although I resented it at the time, it taught me the value of money and working to get it to buy what I wanted.
When people saw photos of my mom and my dad, they always asked why my mother had gray hair and my father had brown hair. I always answered this question with, "I lived with my mother growing up."
Thanks Mom, for all you did for me and taught me over the years. I may not have appreciated the effort that went into raising me then, but I do now. Happy Mother's Day.
A native of Minnesota, Carol Olson grew up in South Dakota and Walnut Creek and now lives in Pittsburg. Contact her at email@example.com.