Made Things

Ten Things about My Mother (for Father’s Day)

Have you ever been able to hang out with an 8 or 9 year old and read the book ‘Because of Winn Dixie’? (Kate DiCamillo, Newbery Award Winner 2001).

“The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor.   A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. 
Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother (who died ‘because of the drink’), one for each year Opal has been alive.”

Last week I was able to read a chapter of this wonderful book and was inspired to make my own list. I realize Father’s Day is coming up, but since I remember my mother so much better than my Father (he left us when I was very young) I now give you….

my dad, bottom left, and mom, pregnant with me, ca. 1951.
Ten Things about my Mother

1. She was determined to make something of herself when she left her home and family in Montana at the age of 19 and moved to Seattle. I married at 19 and 20 years later moved to Seattle.

2.  She never knew a stranger and welcomed people of all races and colors, waaaay before it was a cause celebre, just because that’s who she was.

3.  She loved to belt out Johnny Mathis and Ella Fitzgerald songs. I get all my love of music and song from her.

4.  She wrote down her life on bits and pieces of paper, stealing away from five busy children and a full time job whenever she could. I got the writing bug from her.

5. She taught my brothers and sisters and I the importance of working together and pulling our weight. I started my life as a paid employee at age 15 because of her.

6.  She was a mad, creative seamstress, whipping up Barbie Doll clothes (yes!) Christmas pinafores and Easter dresses for my sisters and I, even made my prom dress and wedding dress.

7.  She was always game for adventure… time during a summer in Newport Beach, she was sure we’d be able to rustle up stew from sandcrabs, so we and our housemates stormed the surf for hours collecting them.  You can’t make stew out of sandcrabs.

8.  She loved passionately, perhaps choosing partners poorly four different times, always believing there was love for her somewhere.

9.  She doted on her grandchildren, the two she was alive to meet–and left small and quiet gifts in books and poems.

10.  She died way too young–at 55–a life cut short by drink and disease.  But not before daring greatly to make a difference in the world, loving us all with everything she had.

I wouldn’t be here without my father, but I wouldn’t be who I am without my mom.

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    Yes, you've definitely inherited positive traits and talents from your mother. With Kathleen above, I was most struck by your Spirit-inspired choice to focus on the positive and delightful qualities of your mother. You've shown the way to peace, joy, and contentment in life–in spite of circumstances. A beautiful post, Jody!

  • Kathleen T. Jaeger

    I love this list! It is so positive even though there is obviously pain in the journey with her leaving young, to death and disease and four partners. What a beautiful focus on her great qualities and how it changed you.

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