Why is it that it’s not until after your parents have died that you have some realizations about them? Then it’s too late to tell them thank you.
These five appreciations about my mother only came to me years after she crossed over.
I never told her.
Some are daily kinds of things. Others go deeper.
Today, on Mother’s Day, I’m hoping that maybe somehow that energy of appreciation can still reach the other side . . .
1. I appreciate the good meals Mama prepared for our family.
I have a hard enough time feeding myself, and feeding a family of four was much, much harder. Many days I can’t figure out what I want to eat. And it’s just me to feed! Not four people with different tastes. Somehow Mama figured out how to have a protein, rice or potatoes, and at least one green or yellow vegetable at supper each evening. And typically more for Sunday dinner.
Most days, I don’t enjoy cooking. I know Mama didn’t, either. But she still did. For us.
2. I appreciate that she treated people equally.
I realize now that my mother was careful to teach my sister and me that we were no better than anyone. I think that’s partially why when people had car trouble at the intersection where we grew up they came to our house for help. The people who knew us knew that Mama wasn’t going to look down on them – whoever they were, wherever they were from. They were going to get the help they needed, whether it was using the phone or getting gas or help changing a tire.
3. I appreciate that she enjoyed helping people.
This one ties in with the previous one. People came to our house for help because Mama liked helping them. And she knew how to do all kinds of things, from working on cars to tending a fire to repairing just about anything. Plus, she was always well-supplied. Gas, ropes, duct tape, wrenches, you name it. She had them all handy – and knew how to use them. Daddy knew how to use them, too, but she’s the one who made sure there were all kinds of tools and equipment handy. That mattered more to her than it did to Daddy.
4. I appreciate that she could fix most anything.
And this one is connected, too. She understood cars, and she and Daddy kept our cars running well. She could repair all kinds of small appliances. She could fix nearly anything around the house. She was also good at refinishing furniture.
She knew how to take care of almost any kind of wound, too. We’d teasingly call her “Dr. Seckinger” because she had strong opinions about taking care of physical ailments. The bathroom cabinet was full of tinctures and lotions and salves and gauzes and tape. She tended to many a cut or scrape or sprain.
5. I appreciate that she taught my sister and me to be independent.
That was one appreciation that was brought to me right after her death. Several people at the funeral home mentioned that she was “independent.” I hadn’t realized that independence was unusual. But when I thought about a woman born in 1927 and the usual role she had to play, well, yes, my mama didn’t fit that. She definitely thought her own way and lived her life her own way. She never waited on a man to take care of things. She knew she could do just about anything. And she taught my sister and me to think and live that same way.
I wish I’d thought of thanking my mama for these specifics while she was alive.
I hope that maybe I did in a roundabout way. Sometimes things get conveyed underneath the surface of words. I hope I let that conveyance take place.
Maybe she already knew – even if I didn’t say the words.
When love is deep, a lot can be communicated without words. Maybe she could feel my appreciation. Even if I wasn’t directly aware that I had it. Even if I didn’t know to say it.
I hope so.
And maybe, just maybe, she can feel it now.
Mama, you were such a blessing to me. Thank you. I appreciate all you did for me. I didn’t have the words then, but here they are now.
Happy Mother’s Day with much love.