Next weekend includes Mother's Day — a day set aside to honor those who gave us life as well as others who were instrumental in making our lives better.

I often think about moms and their influences on people's lives and how their actions affected others.

Often someone will tell me "I wish I had a mother like yours" and it makes me feel blessed because I had my mom in my life. It sometimes makes me think about that person's mom and usually my reaction is I didn't see anything wrong with the other person's mother.

Sometimes I'll hear about the other person's mother and realize I didn't know them all that well.

Once I had to laugh because someone actually said I was just like my mom. My reaction was "You don't really know me" because I don't believe I am anything like my mom. But I'll take the compliment because indeed it was a compliment to be considered like my mother who I think was the kindest, most thoughtful and caring person ever. She never asked for much, but she willingly gave her love and time and encouragement not just to her four kids and husband, but to all those with whom she came in contact. I see those same traits in my sister and sister-in-law who follow my mom's example.

I thought about other moms recently because their sons died and I remembered things their sons said about their moms.

Keith Hough's mom had Alzheimer's before she died in a nursing home. Keith had told my sister that while it was difficult to see her, he though visiting was the least he could do after all she had put up with from him and his brothers. Another person told me she always admired the respect Keith and all his brothers always showed their mom. What a tribute that was — not just for the mother who raised the boys, but for the boys who appreciated their mom. It was not just a Mother's Day gift, but a lifetime present.

Randy Luvaas, a former co-worker at the Tribune, told me one year he had bought his mother a wheelbarrow for Mother's Day. I remember being shocked and commented that a wheelbarrow was an unusual gift for a woman.

His response: That was exactly what she asked for and wanted — and that was why he got it. He didn't care if anyone thought it was inappropriate. He made her happy and that was what was important to him. Again, what a class act — responding according to what she wanted. What an important lesson she had taught him.

Jack Stover, whose work in Crawford County affected so many lives through Special Olympics, was laughing one time about lessons his mother had taught him. His contribution to others so effectively echoed the teachings of his mom.

Each person can probably think of something they learned from their mom — either good or bad.

They definitely influence our lives and I am particularly blessed to have had a mother who not only shared her love and life with her four kids, but to others who benefitted from knowing her. We all have heard the phrase that "no one can cook like my mother" and that is such a tribute to those who kept their families well fed. I'm sure it was not just the food, but the love and good memories that accompanied the food that were so memorable.

My son never says that — but he remembers his grandmother's cooking as do all her grandkids.

But, we not only remember the meals, but the talk around a dinner table — and her reminding us to make foods our guest like, not just what we like! It was important to her to take everyone's feelings into consideration — or maybe she just knew the food would more likely be eaten if it was something people preferred.

She set the perfect example of what a mother should be — and I still feel privileged to be called her daughter.

That's really one of the best blessings in life — to have been loved by such incredible women who are honored this Mother's Day.

It's one reason we take time from our busy lives to say thank you for the wonderful gift of mothers and the gift they gave and continue to give us.

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