I didn’t like having syrup for breakfast on school mornings when I was a little kid since I was was lazy about washing up afterwards. In class, my papers stuck to me all morning till I went out at recess. Then I usually romped around and came back in with dirt sticking to the syrupy patches. Either way, I lost.
It was the mid-1950’s. I was in first grade.
Mother’s Day was approaching, and my teacher decided to have us all make noodle necklaces for our moms. She brought in a variety of dry noodles, along with string and water paints – and wrapping paper. I was so proud of my creation! Mom was going to love it!
On Mother’s Day, I watched my mother open her precious gift. She oohed and aahed, and put the necklace around her neck. I was so happy to see her wear it that day – I thought it was the most beautiful jewelry she ever had.
My mother didn’t work (back then, few did). Her only recreation was going bowling once a week in a league with other mothers.
Her annual bowling banquet was the week after Mother’s Day. I watched my mother dress in her most beautiful (to me) outfit, high heels and all. As she started to reach toward her jewelry chest, I told her she should wear the necklace I made because it was better than anything she had in that jewelry chest. And she put that necklace on and left the house for her banquet. I was so proud!
Fast forward approximately 25 years. I was now a young mother whose girls often brought me hand made gifts. One Sunday, I was visiting Mom, and we got to discussing little girls and how to raise them. The subject of the noodle necklace came up. I chuckled and told Mom that I was sorry I made her wear that necklace to her banquet, and that I now understood that she probably took it off as soon as she was out of eyesight.
There was a silence as my mother thought fondly back to that day. Then, she told me:
“No, I didn’t. I wore it all evening and told all the other mothers that my little girl made it for me.”
And that’s how I learned to be a mother. Mom was tough when it was called for, but she loved her kids and made sure that we all knew that.
Mom once read about a father who told his child, “You are my favorite, but don’t tell your brothers and sisters because it would hurt their feelings.” After the old man died, the kids were comparing notes and discovered that he had made that statement to each and every one of them. Mom thought that was a wonderful way to make a child feel special – and while neither she nor I ever tried it with our own kids, we both understood the philosophy behind it, and tried to love each child in the way that child needed to be loved. I know she succeeded; I hope I did, too.
Happy Mother’s Day! If you have children, give them hugs from me. If your mother is still alive, give her a kiss on her aging cheek. And if you are a mother, may you be showered hugs, kisses and homemade gifts from your own children.
Thanks, Linda, for allowing me to guest post for you today. I will hold you to your promise to reciprocate on my blog!
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Image by Cordelia’s Mom