This year my mom celebrates 65 years of motherhood. Her first Mother’s Day was in 1954 and despite her young age she endured labor, delivery and a year alone with a baby while my father was serving his country in Korea.
Mom probably received her first Mothers’ Day card from me in 1959, the year I started kindergarten at El Rancho Elementary. That fall I brought measles and chicken pox home to my younger brother and sister. Our living room quickly became a pediatric ward run by a 24-hour nurse: mom. Just when things were looking up we were in an automobile accident that almost claimed the life of my sister and left my mother with a permanent back injury. Looking back at that time period I can honestly say she deserved the equivalent of a Purple Heart in motherhood.
Our education was always important. Mom presided over our homework immediately after dinner. Occasionally she would ask what grade she received on a paper she had helped write. Involvement in school was something she truly believed in. Mom served as room mother many times over, Girl Scout leader and even vice president of the PTA. Catching a glimpse of her in the school hallway was not a surprise. Once when told that she was at school I denied that she was my mother. I felt guilty immediately. Sorry Mom, even if you never knew – until now. A favorite memory from our school days was when my brother requested 15 red and 15 green popcorn balls for his afternoon classroom party – that day. The popcorn balls were delivered as best she can recall. Not to be outdone I once requested two boiled eggs before school. Mom took it all in stride and met our requests.
It must have been scary having three teenagers in the turbulent 60s and 70s. There were plenty of ways we could have gotten in trouble yet we didn’t and I give mom all the credit. Always vigilant, when Mom discovered suspicious dry leaves in my brother’s coat pocket she didn’t hesitate to take it to the police department to get it analyzed. Mistletoe was the culprit, much to her relief.
As we grew up Mother’s Day gifts were nicer yet the plaster of Paris handprints, silhouettes cut from black construction paper and cards, were her real treasures. She kept a box of such gifts until recently when she was forced to downsize.
Mom made many personal sacrifices over the years. Her wardrobe was far from extensive and her makeup consisted of lipstick. She and my aunt still laugh about when they only owned one bra at a time because the extra money always went for a new pair of shoes for one of the kids.
She was a stay-at-home mom and took her role as wife and mother seriously. We always had balanced, healthy meals served at 5 p.m. sharp. Mom made a lot of our clothes, especially for summer. When asked why we were dressed alike on vacation she replied, “so if one of you got lost I knew what you were wearing.” We saw a lot of the United States, learned to identify crops and trees and not once did we get lost.
Mom wanted what all mothers want -- a better life for her children. I know she was disappointed when only two of my siblings obtained a college degree. Regardless, we have all tried to make her proud. My brother Ron has worked in the meat processing industry for 40 years, is an accomplished artist and entrepreneur. My sister Diana is a special education teacher in Redding, Calif. Sister Donna is an instructor for the Fun Club in the Chino Valley School District.
Mom has been a great role model. She reads at least four books a week to keep her mind sharp. Always one to encourage exercising, she attends aerobics and line dance classes at the Chino Senior Center. When the weather is good she walks around town doing her errands. Her tech skills are impressive as well. She uses her Apple watch to do more than just tell time. Answering her phone via the watch she laughs and says “just like Dick Tracy”.
So Happy 65th Mother’s Day Mom and thanks for all you have done for me! It is a privilege to celebrate another year with you. When you reminisce about the “old days” my hope is that the joy and laughter shine through any tears you may have shed.
(Lynn Haws is in her 40th year at the Chino Champion where she is in charge of the Production Department.)