It’s appropriate this weekend to let you glimpse a woman who entered the world during the Great Depression, grew up during WWII, got married while Eisenhower was President, and raised three kids when TV was new and the culture danced to hippies and the Beatles.
Here’s an interesting things list for my mom:
1. While pregnant with her, my grandma experienced severe morning sickness and likely would have miscarried Mom. Except that the doctor instructed Grandma to drink wine every evening to settle her stomach. Grandma used to tell this story with an ironic little smile: she’d previously been a strict teetotaler and prohibitionist.
2. In high school Mom swam, debated, and played first chair flute. She broke up with her sweetheart the day after graduation, because he demanded they get married right away. Mom knew she had more to do before settling down.
3. She became the first University of Oregon student to major in Christian Journalism. She earned that degree at the same time she earned one in education from Northwest Christian College.
4. She married a man from the “other side of the tracks” who studied at NCC for the ministry. She and my dad came from very different families, but they set out to make their own life together.
5. We kids always teased Mom on Christmas morning, saying, “The oldest has to open her present last!” Mom married a younger man, but she’s maintained good humor about it.
6. In Illinois she developed a special education program for a small-town elementary school. As a preschooler I met her students and learned I had nothing to fear from disabled people.
7. She also taught me by example that people of differing skin tones are equally beautiful. Mom has always shown genuine concern for whoever comes along. She’s interested in getting to know those around her.
8. As a remedial reading specialist, Mom taught middle school classes in Tacoma, Washington. These were urban preteens, often from troubled backgrounds. She gave kids who’d fallen through educational cracks the gift of stories and imagination.
9. In 1992, Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She and Dad set to work doing all they could to beat it. Mom’s curiosity led her to grill her doctors with questions, to receive information and opinions, and then to explain detailed medical issues to concerned family members. I’m so glad she’s a survivor.
10. When each of her grown children faced upheaval through rebellion or difficulty, Mom remained loyal. I remember taking her phone call at age 23, after I’d done some awful stuff, when I thought I’d given up my childhood faith. My shame and defiance jumbled together. Mom said, “Deanna, no matter what you’ve done, you can always come home.” Not long after that, I did.
Thanks, Mom. I love you.