A Mothers Day Tribute
By Ken DeLaat
It has been over 20 years of Mothers Days since my Mom followed my Dad’s footsteps into ‘“the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns” as Shakespeare so eloquently described. And during each of these annual tributes to those who have starred in this all consuming role, my thoughts wander back to her and the ways she expressed her love for her children.
My Mother was a truly wonderful person, all familial prejudice aside. She adored my Dad, loved her children and provided us with a home where it was relatively easy to find happiness. My childhood memories of her always seem to place her in the kitchen where she spent countless hours in the planning and preparation of a seemingly endless stream of meals. Initially I recall sumptuous feasts finding their way to the table with all of us sitting around it waiting to dig in as my Dad shared a version of the Lord’s Prayer delivered with a swiftness that would shame an auctioneer on amphetamines. The man could whip through it in 3.7 seconds without missing a word, particularly if there was sweet corn on the menu. It was truly impressive.
Later my (significantly older) brothers began to have busy lives with sports, part-time jobs and girlfriends while my Dad moved into jobs that led him to often work long hours so our mealtimes evolved into an ongoing parade of seatings that rivaled the scene at a hectic bistro.
And my Mom handled it with the deftness of a gifted juggler not only preparing provisions wrought from an infinite inventory imbedded in her many cupboards, but individualizing these repasts according to the desire of the diner. At the time it seemed like no big deal but in retrospect it makes sense why so many of my recollections find her kitchen-bound. The lady was running an all-purpose dining establishment with no prep cooks, wait staff, or bussers.
Once while in college and in the midst of a road trip whose purpose escapes me, three friends and I popped in on my parents around 9:30 on a Saturday night on our way back to Mt. Pleasant. My Mom asked (of course) if we were hungry and while my buddies were polite enough to defer I was famished and replied in the affirmative. Mom proceeded to head to the kitchen where she prepared us burgers, hash browns, salads and tossed in a little ice cream for dessert. We wolfed down the vittles, expressed our gratitude and soon motored on back toward campus.
My friends were astounded. On the way home they could not stop talking about the experience, as if they had just witnessed something extraordinary and the story was retold many times to equally amazed listeners.
To me it was no big deal I guess. It was after all, what my Mom did. It was a part of how she expressed her love and if there was one thing Mom had down better than anyone I’ve ever known it was her ability to love. Though never attending college she had a PhD in love and practiced it like a master.
So on this Mother’s Day I honor her and all the wonderful mothers I have known with a few words written by those who have said it better than I could ever dream to.
“In a child's eyes, a mother is a goddess. She can be glorious or terrible, benevolent or filled with wrath, but she commands love either way. I am convinced that this is the greatest power in the universe.”- N.K. Jemisin, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
My mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart — a heart so large that everybody’s joys found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation. ~Mark Twain
The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. ~Honoré de Balzac
“But kids don't stay with you if you do it right. It's the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won't be needed in the long run.” Barbara Kingsover, Pigs in Heaven
“Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.”- Robert A. Heinlein, Have Spacesuit-Will Travel
“Thank you, Mom, for the way you managed yourself during the childish, mean, selfish, insensitive, irresponsible, unreasonable, hateful moments I put you through. From your example I learned to be patient, positive, kind, selfless, sympathetic, reliable, sensible, and loving. You have my endless appreciation.”- Richelle Goodrich, Making Wishes
And a poem
is pure radiance.
she is the sun
i can touch
Publishers note: This is a revised version of a piece initially appearing the first week of N3’s existence (2016)
Letter to the Editor Policy
Near North Now welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Simply fill out the form below. Letters submissions are limited to 300 words.