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Before I Was A Mother


Today as I was in the middle of everyday ordinary living I realized that a week from this Sunday is Mother’s Day.  I’d completely forgotten about it.  It’s crazy but it happens to me a lot.  Not because I don’t care about being Mother, but because I no longer have a living mother.  My mom departed from here but not my heart when I was twenty-eight.  My son somewhat remembers her, my daughter never got to know her.

My Mother

I so wish I’d known her when.  When she was a child.  When she was in love for the first time.  When she met my dad.  When she dreamed and I’d like to have known what changed my moms heart, and made her give up on her dreams. Something happened and turned my moms heart inside out.  Whatever it was it cut to the deep of her.  I’d love to be able to tell her that no matter what it was, I’m sure glad she kept on going and even though I was often told that I was a mistake and my brother Johnny, who died at a young age, was suppose to be the last child of Bee and Pete, I’m sure glad that mom gave birth to me.  It wasn’t meant to be, not having me, because GOD had already had a twinkle of me in His Eye.  I would love to tell my mother I’d like to have known her “when”.

When I Was Small My Mom Was Tall

I’m only 5′ tall.  My mom however was 4’11 1/2.  Yes, when you are small inches and half inches mean more than you might ever know.  I remember stories about my mom and dad having a restaurant, but I know nothing of that life.  I know of days of struggle and them living during The Depression.  I heard but I did not know because though my mom was big, and tall to me, I was small and oh so young, her life back then is one I’ll never know.

I recall moments with my mom mostly that aren’t pleasant.  That’s a very difficult thing to say, to even write, but they are words that are true.  I also have memories of tender touching times with my mother.  My most recollected moment was her always reading one book to me.  I’d love to now know why that book, but really it’s the moment and memory of sitting in my mothers lap, snippets of her smile and me resting, still for once, and her words not harsh but gentle and tell me all about animals and though until now I didn’t quite understand why she read it to me, I think I know.  Like me, my mom never felt as though she added up to being anything important in her life, or the lives of her eleven children.  I think she felt as though she had started on a journey and something, something that stopped her, stopped her dreams and with that died her chances of arriving at the destination she once thought of when she was a girl.

I’m Like My Mother But Not!

I remember those words because I spoke them.  I spoke them during a difficult time in the life my own daughter.  I remember thinking yes, my daughter is like me, my son is like me, but they are not me.  They have dreams of their own, and like my mother before me, she had dreams.  I too am like my mother, but not!

Being a mother changes things.  For most of us for the better.  No matter what are children do, where they go, what they become we will love them.  We will be proud of them and they will always and forever no matter what they say, think or do, we’ll love them to the moon and back again; it’s true!  I feel that way about my own two children.  They’ve made choices that I don’t always understand.   They have been raised to be independent and in that raising it also comes with their being independent.  Their making decisions and growing and going out into the world, as big as it is, with all sorts of other influences, and doing their own thing.  I know this because not by choice that is how my mom raised me.

My reasons for my children were different than hers.  My mom wanted to show, show, show us all that living life was going to be hard, she had it hard and thus she was going to show us the bad and ugly and choose paths that made it rougher for the going.  I believe in my heart that she meant well when she did those things, it just wasn’t the “well” thing for a mom to do.  I love her in spite of those choices, I do.  I so wish I could have known my mom when.

Two Letters Tell The Story

In my possession I have two letters from my mom.  Letters that I hold onto and are my mothers heartbeat.  You see like her, when my mom was back when, she liked to write.  It’s in the genes I guess.  My mom wanted to be an author, and for a short time she actually had a column in a local paper.  I do remember hearing about “The Bee Line”.  I don’t have any articles and therefore it’s another time I’d like to have known my mom when she wrote.

One of my moms letters makes me very proud and allows me to know her love for me.  She didn’t speak of it much, not until she was older and my heart had gotten a bit harder through all that rough living she was trying to teach me about.  The other letter is a bit harder to handle and yet not.  It’s a letter that allows me to have insight into this woman whom I call mother.  It’s bits and pieces of her heart poured onto steno paper.  It was I’m sure written with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in other.  I’m also sure that as she wrote it tears fell.  Like when I write and I think about my son, or my daughter and the growing up years of their life.

Mothers!  Mothers who once were something other.  Mothers before.  All I know is that mothers train up their children.  And as my mom wrote so beautifully to me…

“Congratulations to our caboose!  Your training is compete.  That is, your formal academic training.  You’ll spend a lifetime getting further training–choosing routes, tours, and detours.”

She speaks further about switch tracks that will take me places that I never planned to go.  She writes to me of the many mountains we’ve climbed together, and descended.  She speaks to me of valleys and rivers we’ve crossed over and even, yes even stations where we found rest.

Yes, sometimes I forget that Mother’s Day is drawing upon us.  Not because I don’t want to know.  Or not because my own two blessings Joey and Jill don’t show me that it’s an important day.  No, I just forget because I just want to know my mom more.

Before My Mom Was A Mother!

Familiar Things by Edna Jacques

We cling to old familiar things: old dishes that our mothers had,  old chairs and rugs and patchwork quilts, a jackknife that belonged to Dad.  They to speak in quiet tones of love that is for us alone.

How dear a cup or plate can grow when loving hands have brought it there, and still it stays when they are gone a household treasure loved and rare.  Even the doorknobs have a touch of mom, who handled them so much.

A bit of vine she planted there grows beside the kitchen door, a sunny window that she loved, a string of scarlet beads she wore; through life’s dull monotone it sings the love of old familiar things.

While It’s Still Called Today

May I just say from experience that if your mom is still living, do yourself a favor, and get to know her.   Ask her about when she was a girl.  Ask her about what her life was really all about before she was a mother.

I’d love to be able to tell my mom that sometimes what we think are the ideal dreams, GOD has and had something better in mind.  It’s that all things that work together for GOD thing.  It isn’t always easy, and my mom, when she was telling me about how hard life was going to be, she was right.  She was so very right about a lot of things.  I’m on the track and this caboose on the train of their lives has yet to derail.  Oh yes I would tell my mom how close I’ve come.  How hard sometimes have been.  She’d understand about the loss of a husband or home.  I’d kind of also like to be able to tell my mom all about me after becoming a mom.  How the mom she was really did make me a better mom.  We all learn, we all grow, we all have dreams.

This train is bound for Glory!

Until all have heard of and know, His Love,

Jeannie Bee


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