Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers - Part 3, The Queen Mother

As my Mothers Day tribute finale, on this day of honor for Mothers everywhere, I would like to honor my Mom, Mary Jane....

 .....isn't she beautiful?! I've always thought she looked like a young Liz Taylor. Don't you think so? And she really is a Queen. A Rodeo Queen. Really, how many children can say that their mother was a Rodeo Queen? I wish I had a picture to post. Somewhere there is this great 8mm movie of a young dark haired beauty riding out into the arena on a big horse just waving her heart out. Best movie EVER.

My Mom has always been a hard working make-do kind of gal. She was born and raised in the small Eastern Oregon town she still lives in and grew up riding horses and working at the Guest Ranch that her parents owned. She taught us at an early age that you don't need video games and TV to have a good time, you just need the outdoors and a good imagination. She was the kind of Mom that was up for a week of camping out along the river where we would roast marshmallows, make Hobo stew, and get dirtier than any four kids could ever hope to get. She took us on vacation to her brother's house in Idaho where we learned to run through a corn field, ride ponies and calves and swim in a trout pond (that last part was for my sister. She actually fell in the trout pond and the only thing that kept her from drowning was the fear of the fish biting her! Sorry Stephi, couldn't help myself.)

She was a young mother with me coming along when she was 18 followed by my brother and my two sisters. We had a full childhood and if you would have asked us then, we would have told you that we were what one would consider "middle class". Our father was the local butcher and we always had a good home to live in and food on the table. It's funny how you perceive things as a child. It wasn't until the four of us started to grow up and have our own families that we realized the big pot of beans that she would make and we would eat for a week wasn't because her and Dad liked beans, it was because they were cheap and went a long way. She could take a few packages of Top Ramin Noodles, add some peas, chopped boiled eggs and green onion and voila! full meal. She managed to keep us all fed and clothed on a tight budget and somehow kept us from knowing that we were actually poor. Amazing. We never felt that there wasn't enough. Just goes to show yet again that it's not how much money we had that made us rich, but how much love.

I wrote the other day about having a strong willed daughter and my poor Mother had one of those as well. There were a few years there that we didn't see eye to eye and I had no appreciation for the sacrifices she made for us. I gave her a hard time as teenagers sometimes do. So glad that we're past that. She's come to be not only my Mom, but my friend. We laugh on the phone together about silly things. Like the way she has of making up her own words that completely changes the meaning of things. I keep threatening to write a book of things she says. So funny. The best was when she called to tell me she was sick again with that "thing that she got in Mexico that started with a 'G' and then blurted out the name of an STD and not the Giardia that she really had. I thought I was going to die laughing.

My Mom and I live 7 hours apart now and I don't get home much, but this year I decided that I just had to go home for Easter with my family. Our father passed away suddenly about 10 years ago and Easter was his favorite holiday. This year Easter actually fell on his birthday and I just wanted to be with my Mom and siblings. I left right after work on Friday and my niece and I got in around 1:00 a.m. I couldn't help but feel like a teenager again sneaking in after curfew so as not to wake up mom. But Mom's little fluffy dog alarm went off and before I could calm her down and tell her it was ok that I was in the house, Mom was heading down the hall. After hugs and a bit of visiting, I crawled into bed. I might be a 49 year old mother of 3 and grandmother of 5, but when my mom leaned over and kissed me goodnight, I felt like a little girl again and I knew I was home. Turns out that you're never too old to need your Mother.

Thank you Mom for doing all you've done to raise four great kids and to see us through all our trials and tribulations. We're not a perfect bunch, but you've taught us what it means to be a family and pull together when things get tough and how to help others when there is a need. Happy Mothers Day. I love you very much and can't wait for you to come visit so we can sit on the porch and laugh together. We're pretty good at that!

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