As Mother’s Day approaches, I am reminded of how little some children seem to know about the person behind the persona.
This thought first occurred to me when I moved to Montana and began, on occasion, to read the death notices. They are so unlike the monotonous obituaries I had become accustomed to reading when living in the suburbs of New Orleans. I once again pondered the notion – how little children know about their mothers – when I read an article about a woman who came to realize that her mother enjoyed dancing and other such frivolity. She had been clueless to things that her mother had valued. As my dad would say, “This girl only thought of her mother as chief cook and bottle washer.”
Sadly at a later time, I read the obituary of a woman I once knew who was described as a housewife, with X number of kids, married to so and so, and who attended such and such school. Even though I barely knew her, I knew enough of her to have mustered up a more lively description of her life experience.
Back to the subject of reading obituaries.
Many of the obituaries that I have seen while living here in Montana create some of the most heart-warming portraits of deceased mothers you will ever have the privilege to read. Written by surviving children, their mothers are portrayed as courageous farmers, visionaries, and women full of vigor. What’s intriguing, is that very little attention is given to their mother’s education, marital status, or whether she was a housewife or a secretary. Naturally some space is given to these worthwhile matters, as we are all interested in how many kids and grandkids someone has, but the focus is on the individual. Personalities come alive as they are described as avid hikers, exceptional equestrians, nifty knitters, awesome bakers, book lover’s, or lovable souls.
Thankfully my mother is alive and well. She is still quite a character at 81. She loves pineapple upside down cake, dancing, watching Lana Turner movies, and her favorite color is green. She’s fond of candy, likes cherries, thinks cussing in movies is abhorrent, but has a mouth like a sailor. She’s honest, outspoken, and thrifty. Married for 54 years, she has 2 children, 5 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren (I think), and attended Nichols High School.
In closing I will leave you with the question, “Who is your mom?”