Memories of My Mother
May 9, 2010 by Lillie
She was born in California, where her parents were migrant workers. Her family lived in migrant camps with people who were all poor and mostly minority. She was comfortable with diversity long before it became a buzzword. As a teenager, she moved to Utah to live with her grandmother after the death of her grandfather.
She and Daddy met when he was stationed in Utah during World War II, and she moved to Texas to marry him when he came home from the war. She left her family and became part of his, gave up her Mormon religion and joined the Methodist Church my father attended.
For the nearly fifty years of their marriage, they lived on the farm where my father had been born and would eventually die. Mama was a good farm wife and wonderful mother to her six children.
Both of my parents always put their kids first and supported us in everything we did—driving to football games to watch the girls march in the band or the boys play football, going to dances to hear my brother play drums in a Western band, attending school plays and concerts, and cheering us on in all our activities.
They were strict disciplinarians and expected us to do well in school. Seeing the look of disappointment on their faces when I did something wrong was worse punishment than a spanking.
After my youngest sister entered school, Mama took a training course to become a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). She was an excellent nurse, showing the same love and attention to her patients as she did to her family.
Mama was quiet and unassuming, but she also enjoyed a good laugh. She had a little pillow on her favorite chair embroidered with the words: “My family tree is full of nuts.” All of those nuts found a sympathetic ear and wise counsel whenever they went to Mama for advice or help.
After they raised her family, Mama and Daddy raised four more children. They treated the two grandchildren and their half siblings who had no blood or legal relationship to my parents exactly like they had treated their own children. From time to time, they took in other children who were having problems.
Daddy was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s shortly after my sister and I went on a fabulous cruise with my parents. Mama spent the next seven years or so caring for him. She was in poor health herself so had to have help. My siblings and nieces and nephews and I helped, but eventually she had to put him in a nursing home for advanced medical care. The nearest facility that could handle his needs was more than fifty miles away from the farm. Mama could no longer drive; someone drove her to visit Daddy two or three times a week, even after he no longer knew her. She cared for him until the day he died, then she spent the remaining eight years of her life showering her love and care on the rest of the family.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mama. I miss you!