Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mom: Assignment #20

Silver Valley Girl assigned InlandEmpireGirl and me to write a tribute to Mom for Mother's Day. Silver Valley Girl's is here. InlandEmpireGirl's is here.

When I think about Mom, my mind always goes back to about 1963-67/8. In order to keep her teaching certification, Mom had to finish a four-year degree. The state of Idaho would no longer allow her to teach with her two-year degree.

As life would have it, about the same time she started going to night school and summer school, and about the time she had to go to Moscow to complete her residency, and study on the University of Idaho campus, she had become pregnant we had a baby in our house, the very girl we call Silver Valley Girl.

Mom had about 100 things going at once those days: she was teaching grade school at Siver King, where not only was the day to day preparing and teaching demanding, but so were the things outside of the classroom like PTA and Christmas pageants and keeping current with all the different ways to decorate her room.

Mom went to night school.

She had hired Mrs. Price to care for Carol, so she had an employee to pick up in the morning and take home and night. She also had to make sure that Mrs. Price was happy in her work.

The stress of this was all magnified by Silver Valley Girl's difficult first month. She was very sick. Most of her first thirty days were in the hospital and she nearly died on a couple of occasions, including once at home. She was very healthy after her first month, but the traumatic first month was always a memory and the fear she might relapse was very real.

I really cannot capture how busy Mom was during those years. I always remember the night the baby bottle nipples melted. Mom was sanitizing them in a saucepan on the stove and water boiled dry and the rubber nipples melted. Dad was probably bowling. InlandEmpireGirl and I were probably too engrossed in Gilligan's Island or Lost in Space.

The rubber nipples could have been a last straw. Mom could have said, "That's it. I can't do all this."

But she didn't. She was determined. It's the same determination she uses when she goes up and down the basement stairs, one foot on one step, the other foot on the same step, slowly and carefully, to compensate for her sore hip and knees; it's the same determination she uses in her garden, fiercely yanking weed after weed from the ground, her face red in the sun, or as she removes dead head after dead head from her hundreds of flowers around her house.

I can't say Mom is stubborn. But she's determined. She's a cancer survivor. She's widowed. She's a very involved grandmother. She's determined to keep up her yard and garden for as long as she can.

I've taken a couple of Mom's strengths into the world with me. I think every student of mine can learn and excell; I think the best of people until they give me reason to think otherwise.

But, Mom's determination. I don't have it and I have rarely seen it in anyone else. It's what I admire most in Mom in paying tribute to her this Mother's Day.


Jennifer said...

What a beautiful tribute! My mom has that strength, 4 kids, full time work, went to school. I think that's why we all supported her retirement so much and encourage her and hubby to go on those camping trips they enjoy so much. Thanks for sharing about your mom, it was a little taste of heaven.

myrtle beach whale said...

She was a great teacher. She taught me cyphering as well as my gazintas. No easy task. It had to be hard for her to keep us focused after we spent recess wading in the lead creek to retrieve those big old rubber kick balls. Do they still make those?

raymond pert said...

Jennifer: Thanks so much for coming over and reading about my mom. After I read your tribute to your mother
I understand even better why you wrote that you see our mothers as very similar. I totally agree.

myrtle beach whale: In all the years I lived in Kellogg and in all the times I've gone back to visit, no one, not one person, has ever said anything negative about my mother, especially as a teacher. Even kids who were rowdy and difficult for my mother, come up to me and tell me she was the best teacher she ever had. I think it has to with the fact that she really believed in her students and, no matter how young or old, when students know a teacher believes in them, they love that. I think Mom's students also liked the extras, like live lizards in the classroom and her annual Valentine's Day post office!

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

Wow, they sure don't make mothers like they used to. Determination and unflappable faith in the ability of others to excel. What a special gift your mom has been to all of you! Blessings to your mom!

Silver Valley Girl said...

Mom enjoyed it when we read her tributes to her today. She got a little choked up, as well as laughed. I'm glad we got to share them with her. PKR tried to do his best Raymond Pert imitatation when he read yours, but he needs a little work(: