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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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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Happy House-Husband

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(Click on picture for larger image.)

When I retired at sixty-two to write novels full-time, I didn’t realize that writing full-time was going to be even more tiring than going to work every day. Nor did I anticipate other ways my life would change.

Although I don’t have to get up at 6:30 on weekdays when my wife does, I enjoy doing it because fixing our breakfasts (we don’t eat the same thing for breakfast)  is a great thank you for the many things she does for me.

Summer can be a drag, though. Despite what seems like weeks of drought, the grass seems to need cutting at least once a week. And it always seems to exceed the easy-to-mow height before I can get to it. Oh, and did I mention that I have to mow early before the temp gets too hot? And that means mowing while the grass is still wet. That makes for quite a workout for a mower that doesn’t propel itself.

“Wait a minute,” you say. “This post is supposed to be about ‘happy’…”

Whoops! Sorry. I may not like having to mow, but it’s good exercise. And the lawn does look MUCH better when I’m finished. Plus, my wife always praises me for getting it done. A guy never outgrows his need for praise.

Vacuuming is another of the chores I do. One reason I’m willing to talk about this with a smile is my wife doesn’t push me to do it. If I do it once a week or every two weeks, she is equally tolerant. Perhaps because I don’t push her about any of her chores.

After supper, she washes and I dry. The dishes, that is.

Laundry is mine to take care of, too. I do a load of whites/lights on Thursday and a load of darks on Friday. By spreading the load–pardon the pun–over two days, I have less to put away either day. If Kathleen wants the bed linens done, she does those on Saturday, and all I have to do is help remake the bed.

Throwing things into the washer, transferring them to the dryer, and putting them away takes very little time and effort. That makes laundry my favorite task.

We own very few clothes that need ironing. When ironing must be done, Kathleen is smart enough not to trust me to do it.

One of my major chores is putting the dog out and in repeatedly throughout the day while Kathleen is at work. It’s not worth the price of a doggy door, and it forces me to get up from the computer and stretch occasionally. Uh, make that frequently.

So I have it pretty easy, I think. We have the home workload balanced very satisfactorily, and I still have plenty of time for writing.

What’s your take on housework? Do it? Avoid it? Hope someone else will do it? How about leaving a comment and sharing your view?

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Best regards,
Roger