Remembering My Mother

r1959-2   r1961

Somehow in thinking about what to write about for Mother’s Day, the church’s Family Fishing Day got in the way of something more relevant. But it’s not too late to write about my mother.

As I’ve mentioned sometime or other on this blog, I’m adopted. So I don’t know who my birth mother was or anything about my ancestry. Yes, I get a little curious at times, but at this stage of my life I’m not interested in looking. No need to. As far as I’m concerned, Virginia Williford Bruner was the only mother I needed.

She was–as was customary in that far-distant time–a stay-at-home mom. So she was always available. While my memories of childhood are spotty, I do remember some specific things about her.

She had a number of health issues that limited the housework and other activities she could participate in. Consequently, as a teen I had to do the vacuuming for what seemed like years. I also have a vague recollection of having to take down the Venetian blinds periodically and wash them in the tub. Yuck!

She was a wonderful pianist until her rheumatoid arthritis got so bad she could no longer play. Although she played hymns, too, she was especially fond of the classics. And she would’ve  fully supported piano lessons if I’d been willing to take them. As it was, though, she was fascinated with the fact that I could sit down at the piano and pick some things out.

She was an excellent cook. I remember the cakes with caramel icing (I preferred the chocolate cakes, though). And bacon waffles, made with strips of bacon lying the full width of the waffle. And the cinnamon rolls. Yum! Oh, and gingerbread with a special white “hard sauce.” I’ve never seen or heard of anything like it since.

She taught the Sunday School class I attended as an older teen. She spent hours in preparation and did an excellent job of teaching. She seemed popular with the other class members and I enjoyed being in her class.

Truth be known, I wasn’t as close to either of my parents as many kids are. I’ve long said they reared me to be independent and they succeeded beyond their wildest expectations. When I left home for college and then moved away to teach school, they asked for one letter a week. That was before email and free long distance. I complied with that request, although not always with enthusiasm.

I visited them several times during the school year, mostly on holiday weekends. I occasionally took trips elsewhere on holidays, though, since I didn’t feel overly tied to being where my parents were.

One thing I’ll never cease to be thankful for was Mother’s suggestion that I might enjoy computer programming and her offer to pay for me to take enough classes to make a career change. What a difference that made in my life–especially in my job satisfaction.

She was supportive of my first marriage, even though she didn’t meet Debbie until she and Father went to Illinois for the wedding. In spite of her health problems, she insisted on making the two hundred mile trip with my father when our baby, Beth, died three days after she was born; that was almost four years later. Mother and Debbie probably talked daily for years once we finally ended up living in the same city.

Mother loved our adopted daughter, Kristi, whom she insisted would certainly become a lawyer because she loved to argue so much. Unfortunately, Kristi was so rambunctious as a small child that Mother never felt comfortable having her over without one of us being there. By the time Kristi had calmed down some, my father had died. My mother died a year later.

I got to know my mother better than ever during the final year of her life. Sharing things we talked about then would be too personal to do here, but I became her driver, grocery shopper, and occasional handyman. (Fortunately, she had someone to come in periodically to do the cleaning.) And I was the one to find her dead in bed after what was presumably a massive stroke.

I became her friend that final year. And she became mine.

Is there a better way to remember a deceased parent than as a friend?

What about you? Were you close to your mother? Do you have any particular memories you’d like to share in a comment?

~*~

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Best regards,
Roger

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