I have a song going through my head this morning, and I can’t seem to shake it out of there. It is “Love Your Baby Girl” by Sugarland, http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/Love-Your-Baby-Girl-lyrics-Sugarland/1C528B1757C6AAED482570930042E963 . I am reminiscing this morning about all the things my mother did for us when we were growing up.
My mom was a stay at home mom. Even though she didn’t have a job outside of the house, I would say that she often worked as hard if not harder than working moms. There were five of us kids, a dog, dad, and a constant stream of neighborhood kids in the house. If that wasn’t enough, my father liked to move around a lot, so in twenty years of marriage she had made close to twenty moves with five kids and a dog. I am specifically remembering how we used to leave notes for her at night asking her to wake us up at (blank) time. She kept some of those notes, and I have to admit I find them a little appalling. On some of those notes each one of us left a different time we wanted to be wake up. Yea, we used her as a wake up call service. What audacity we had.
Mom cooked almost every meal from scratch. We always had homemade meatloaf, soups, bread, cookies, pancakes, biscuits, etc. Neighborhood kids loved to eat at our house even if it was just soup night because that meant we had homemade vegetable or chili soup with homemade bread sticks. I remember that my aunt used to make bought biscuits instead of homemade biscuits, and I thought they were so good. I often asked mom to stop making those homemade things and buy a tin of “real” biscuits. I was so wrong.
Recently I overheard a guy talking about how his mom just seems kind of crazy and eccentric these days. He said that he doesn’t understand her, and he wishes she was easier to manage. I sometimes understand this sentiment, but then I think back to how she must have felt all those years ago with five kids that she didn’t always understand and wished were easier to manage. I am remembering the time that my brother and his friend cleared the entire stadium at the local fairgrounds talent show by playing hard rock music on electric guitars. The only people left in the stands at the end of the number were my family and his friend’s family. Dad and mom ordered us to stay put and not even think of leaving. I think of the time my other brother took the family car out for an errand and totalled it by locking up the brakes and hitting a parked car. Yea, we still don’t know how he did that one. I am thinking about the time that I accidentally locked her in the pheasant pen with a wild cat, or when I accidentally locked us both in the pheasant pen in zero degree weather with the car running in the driveway. That morning I learned quickly how to work a lock with a piece of straw. There is the time my brother left the screen off of his bedroom window and the entire upstairs became a swarm of wasps. I am thinking of my sister’s endless mold specimens in her room (chocolate milk hardens and separates into white and black in a cup if left for long periods), the fights between us kids, the practical jokes (I came home one day and my siblings had hung all my stuffed animals from the ceiling), and the overall cleaning and maintenance that happens when there are that many children in a house.
Even though she probably wished she could manage us more, she let us have our freedom to grow, explore, and discover. Maybe that is what our parents want now. Maybe after the kids are gone, and they actually have a little spending money, they just want to grow and explore and discover. We can’t understand it, and we can’t manage it, but we can be supportive, and if need be we can sit in an empty stadium when everyone else has left and cheer them on.