Up at the crack of dawn, her bed freshly made, she would briskly enter into the portion of the house that was more home to her then any other part of the house -- the kitchen. Here, the days chores began, morning after morning. Soon the coffee pot was hard at work, gurgling furiously, while the aroma of the perking coffee wafted slowly through the entire household beckoning those that were still snuggled in their comfy beds that a new day had dawned.
Bacon, eggs, oatmeal, toast was a standard menu, and we cleaned our plates, for we were told time after time that you needed a good breakfast to start the day out right, and she was right -- as always.
The challenges of each new day gave us an insight to our mother that was a joy to share. Knowing Mom and her love of mottos, we could rest assured as soon as breakfast was over, we all would be sent off, each to our own mode of work of the day, with love and concern, and often with a bit of (at that time of our lives) unappreciated advice.
The farewell might consist of "Don't be a sourpuss today. No one wants to be around a sourpuss." Or these words could be heard: "Remember to smile, for when you smile, the world smiles with you, and when you cry, you cry alone." But the one I heard her saying more times than not was, "Remember to count your blessings."
Today, I am very thankful I have had the opportunity to share with my mother and now the opportunity to reflect on the philosophy of life she so graciously and generously passed on to her family. Orphaned at age 6, her experiences with life were so very much different then the opportunities she was able to pass on to her family. I truly believe that thought was always foremost in action and caring for her own family -- appreciative of an opportunity not granted to her in her growing-up days.
Loving, caring, sharing, helping and all kinds of "-ings" were her character traits, but above all was Mom's attitude for simple "good Morning" greetings as a morning ritual. It was like a big hug from a fellow family member or friend, as it included the expression on her face, the tone of her voice that wrapped its warm arms of greeting around your heart. You knew. It was going to be a good morning, a good day, with a little bit of work involved, but we were armed and ready to meet the challenge. We had been armed by the best.
Gloom entered our lives at times, as it does in everyone's life, but we could always count on Mom to blow those clouds of doubt, fear and gloom away. This was where "Count your blessings," came into play. Who else had a family, a nice school to go to each day, friends and a mother and father to share? Who else? There was always someone else a lot more unhappy then we were, and for a lot worse reasons than we could ever dream possible. She was great at painting pictures without the use of paint and brushes -- but the scenes were clearly identifiable on an easel etched in our minds by her words and actions.
Keeping busy, to her, seemed to be the solution to nearly all of life's problems. Would I ever dare to say to her, "I am bored"? I tried it once -- ended up scrubbing the endless dining room floor, washed cupboards and swept the huge front porch all the time wondering if Webster was my bitter enemy by allowing such a word as "boring" to even grace the pages of his wise publication. But as I watched her hoeing away in her garden, pulling the nasty weeds that seemed to test her patience in the array of larkspur, rose bushes, tiger lilies and the sweet smelling peppermint, I soon came to realize that was her time alone -- alone with her own private thoughts and alone with her God.
I saw a cartoon that brought to mind my days of sharing in the blessing of being a mother and having children at home. The children asked their mother, "Mom, what do you want for Mother's Day?" The mother responded: "A promise. I want a promise that you'll always stay true to yourselves, that you won't be swayed by others, that you'll live graciously, unselfishly and courageously. And that when you do make a big choice in life, you'll do so not just with your mind but also with your heart. Promise?"
In remembrance of mothers of the past and in a message to all mothers of today, may this thought be foremost in our minds as we share this special day and remember: "Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them."
Nadene Albrecht, Russell, is a retired real estate broker. Her work can be found online at lutheransonline.com.