Remembering Mothers

May 9, 2019

Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday. Are you ready? I have started my preparations. I’m in the “think preparation” mode for Mother’s Day.

Remember the “think method” of learning to play a musical instrument in the movie “The Music Man?” I’m thinking that I’ll be getting my wife a card for one thing.

I looked at cards the other day, but didn’t buy one. I saw one that amused me. On the front, it read, “To My Mother, Who is a Saint.” On the inside, was printed, “From your Kid, Who Ain’t”

Another card that is memorable: “A Mother’s Intuition is always right…” Then the inside of the card says, “Unless you were feeling like you were getting more than a card for Mother’s Day”

It does take some thought to prepare for this special day. Of course, your need for preparation is determined by what your status is in relationship to mothers. Some people have mothers to remember in more than one situation or generation. Some men have living mothers, a wife who is a mother, a mother-in-law, and daughters who are mothers as well.

My own status at this point is being the grown-up (some will dispute that) son of a deceased mother and husband of the mother of my children. I also have a daughter who is a mother. Of course we all have friends and other relatives who are mothers. Some of us have special relationships with women who we consider to be “mothers” to us even though there’s no official family connection.

I believe that everyone has someone to remember on Mother’s Day. We obviously all got here by way of a mother. There may be a few who don’t have personal recollections of a mother because of circumstances of death or separation for one reason or another. But this Sunday, for the most part, I believe we all can honor mothers regardless of our circumstances, in some way.

Having lost my mother some years ago, I have been thinking that I should be doing more to honor her memory by keeping her life familiar with my children, and with me for that matter. The years go by and events, words and deeds tend to fade in memory. It’s like remembering the pages and chapters of a book read long ago.

Fortunately, in remembering my mom, I have some pictures, videos, and written remembrances otherwise that make for a “book” that can be “re-read.” It’s important to compile information on our families so as to provide our children with an understanding of their origins. It creates a connection that becomes important at some point in most people’s lives.

There are still memories of my mother which I should write down. It’s too easy to put off these things. Forgive me, but in the spirit of “there’s no time like the present,” I’m going to end my procrastination right now.

My mother, Florence Ogden, lived to be 80-years-old. She spent the last few months of her life in the rest home in Mayfield in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease. (The “long goodbye” as they call it.)

She was a gentle soul and a terrific mom. She was from Downey, ID. Mom met dad at a dance at Utah State University. She graduated as a home economics teacher and insisted that she teach one year before getting married. Dad went along with this goal she had. (What choice did he have?)

She got a teaching position in Snowflake, AZ; and completed her goal. She and dad were married in 1938 and got jobs in Alaska where they started their family and spent several years.

As I think of mom, I remember several repetitious admonitions that she had for me as a kid. I’ll share a couple of them.

The first one is appropriate right now as it is baseball related. She would often say, “Come on Merrill, you’ve got to hit the ball.” This command was used metaphorically in every situation imaginable ranging from getting my farm chores done to doing school homework to – well, everything. Everything that is, except baseball. Ironic, isn’t it? I don’t ever remember her saying “hit the ball” when I was a kid at a baseball game.

The other thing mom told me that I want to mention here is, “You’re just as good as anybody else.” Kids need to learn that concept. Embodied in that notion is the good old American “all men are created equal” philosophy. Don’t let anyone put you down and remember not to put anyone else down either. Moms are the best teachers kids will ever have. Their influence is immeasurable and indelible.