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Along Twin Ponds Road

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Mothers

By Ray Willis

As my wife, Judy, waved to me through our office window from the backyard and flashed that beautiful smile of hers toward me, it warmed my heart.
This wonderful woman, wife and mother spends most of her day performing tasks around the house and yard to please me.
She is what most of us would call an “old-fashioned housewife” — she’s very clean, fussy, and makes other women feel uncomfortable whenever they visit us.
I’ve always been considered by wives to be neat, picking up after myself, and never afraid to help with the housework.
In fact, I do all the ironing, and all of my wives have been only too happy to indulge me.
However, no matter how much I try to pick up after myself, Judy is usually there behind me as if I’ve missed something or am not doing it right.
It’s taken me years to get used to wiping out a sink after I’ve used it so it’s dry. I’m always wiping the mirror up over the sink because I have a habit of splashing water on it.
Recently we had a new shower installed to take the place of a large garden tub.
It’s wonderful to use and so refreshing — that is, until I realized my lovely wife wanted me to dry the whole shebang, walls, floor and glass shower doors.
What a bummer! By the time I’m finished doing that I’ve worked up a sweat and need another shower.
Judy grew up poor as I did, and had become used to doing daily chores and doing them to the best of her ability, at a very early age.
She also performed many chores her mother should have been performing instead of playing cards with kinfolk or watching her daily soaps for most of the day.
I’ve reminded her so many times how much I love the hard work she does to keep our home looking great, but to stop being so motherly at times, and that I did not marry her to be my maid.
I’ve lived alone and know how to cook, clean house, etc.
I’ve hurt her feelings more than a few times when I’ve asked her to stop working so hard so we can act like retired people and take a break from home chores and take a drive somewhere or spend a couple of days at the beach.
Since we’ve left our Over55 Florida community I’ve become a steady day laborer.
I love working in the back yard and making our home more beautiful, but not to the extent that I don’t have time to do some of the other things I like to do.
I haven’t been reading, playing my guitar or taking my morning walks with any consistency. It drives me bonkers! I’m a fresh-air freak; it’s vital to my existence.
When she was mothering her two sons, I’m sure Judy was just as adept at that as well as being a great housewife and companion.
For many years, Judy worked as a Realtor and broker and owned her own day care center in Florida and North Carolina, in addition to doing her utmost to remain a good mother and wife.
My mother was not my favorite person during most of my life.
She, too, I’m sure, did her utmost to raise four children the best way she knew how.
For four years she had to leave us as she had become stricken with tuberculosis, and my three siblings and I were farmed out to stay with our aunts and uncles and
cousins.
After her discharge from the sanitariums she had become quite religious. How could one blame her when she had lost several of her friends to that fatal illness?
However, it wasn’t until after my father died, that I really started to appreciate my mother.
It seems that while he was alive she was stymied in her attempts to lead a true Christian life.
Shortly after his death in 1987, my mother was finally free to minister unto those less fortunate.
She was always visiting the sick or trying to help someone less fortunate.
It was at that time I started taking her out to breakfast early Saturday mornings.
Those were good times, and we did much sharing.
After breakfast my mother and my sister would meet and spend a few hours
together.
I always thought my mother couldn’t wait for breakfast to end so she could be with Claire.
My two brothers and I always thought Claire was the apple of our parents’ eye.
My mother used to keep a diary of sorts during her final years.
I was shocked when my sister and her husband shared that my mother wrote more about me than any of my siblings.
I’m thankful I finally learned to appreciate and love my mother and realize what a true and good Christian she really was.
I’ll always be thankful for the stories she read to me before going off to sleep when I was a child and for making something as simple as searching for four-leaf clovers in our own backyard exciting and happy.
More than anything, she taught me what it is to really love the Lord and to do one’s best to live an exemplary Christian life each and every day.
“Only God himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.”
 — Billy Graham
I hope your relationship with your mother is a fine and cherished one.
Mothers, God bless you. Enjoy your special day and realize how much most of us are indebted to you and appreciate you.
Ray Willis is the
author of “Staying Afloat.” He has been writing essays for
newspapers in five states for over 15 years. He may be be reached at coot5864@hotmail.com.