My Many Mother’s Days
By Ellen Brooks
Having lived for 74 years, giving birth to four children, I have had a lot of mother's days. I can truthfully say that being a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother has been the most fun of anything that I have ever done.
When my children were little, they gave me handmade gifts, wildflowers, beautiful leaves and rocks. I still have the cards written in childish hands. One year, they bought me a small white Bible. To this day it is one of my greatest treasures.
After they grew up, finished college and started making real money, the gifts changed accordingly. They gave me flowers, money, food, clothes, jewelry, massages, manicures, trips and my house cleaned all year.
But I do not need the gifts and cards to assure me that I am a good mother. I tried very hard to be a good mother. I studied more experienced mothers. I read books about how to handle children. Dr. Spock was always at my finger tips. I gave being a mother my very best shot. I took them to Sunday School and church. I prayed daily. Now, I know that I am more than merely good. The proof is in the children themselves.
And I made more mistakes than I care to remember. I never tried to pretend that I always knew what I was doing. I told my children that I had done them a real favor by showing them imperfection at home. They didn't have a culture shock when they went out into the world and found that it was full of flawed people. They grew up knowing that we all make mistakes, we all use bad judgment on occasion, and we learn to deal with faults and failings in ourselves and in our fellow human beings.
I had my first child at 17. I was pregnant when I got married. Let me say, I would never recommend becoming a mother at 17. I know it was totally normal for my mother and her mother and on back. Girls got married very young. But it did not work for me; the marriage did not last. But my children were not the only good things to come out of that marriage. My mother-in-law and her sister and brother were wonderful to my children and me. They loved my children and me and helped me in all ways.
My parents were totally supportive, too. My younger brother was always there for us. With love and help from a number of people we made it.
Actually, we made it with flying colors. The children were loved, fed, housed and had a wonderful childhood. I've always looked at it as my children and I growing up together.
Bill Anderson wrote a beautiful country song titled "I'd Have Done a Lot of Things Different." I've thought about it a lot. I've said things that I regretted saying. I've talked when I should have been listening. And I could have been more charitable. I've been judgmental on occasion, gossiped from time to time, failed to mind my own business and fell short many times and many places.
But if I had my children to raise all over again, I would change very little. We laughed a lot at our house. Ours was never a typical household. We knew we had to depend on each other.
Whatever life threw at us, we did not have to deal with it alone. Help was always in our house and in our lives. We were first and foremost a family unit.
My children are all grown up now. I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren. My children have made wonderful parents. The younger generation is coming along just great.
For the mothers reading this, I hope you feel this way, too.
To my children, I have one more thing to say: This is not an invitation to have a "free ride" on Mother's Day. I want all of you to continue to be your generous, loving selves. I have grown accustomed to it these many years. And thank you for making me the most fortunate mother in the whole world.