The following is a “Thank You” note I wrote to my 93 year old mother as an inclusion to her Mother’s Day card. I think it’s important to tell those we love that we appreciate the “life lessons” we’ve learned from them:
For reading to me every day from the “Sunbonnet Sue” stories when I got the measles and the chicken pox together (and I know that half of that was my own fault) I disobeyed both you and Aunt Irene and went to visit Amy in her room when she was sick and contagious. Things are a bit different today……..I don’t think people stay in dark rooms like that now. Do you remember which one of those two diseases Amy had. I still carry that one small chicken pox scar below my left eye to remind me that there are reasons when mothers say “don’t”.
For letting me walk the bridge girders across the river, I think it was in Turner, behind Dad while you sat in the car……….probably scared to death. I was pretty young and pretty small so those bridge girders were as wide as a sidewalk to me…………no problem. When dad told me not to look down, I knew he meant it.
For grabbing me by the back of my coat when I opened the door of the moving car. I can still remember seeing the pavement below my face. I was really stupid sometimes!
For not punishing me too badly when I took off on my bicycle and rode all the way out to see Elaine and Gloria in Mechanic Falls without telling anyone that I was going. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I understood how worried you must have been. Do you remember how old I was, because I don’t.
For all the fun at the Sabbathday cottage even though it was hard to get up so early to drive into town for school when Dad went to work. I remember the “grown up” feeling of having the coffee in those thick china mugs and yes I know it was mostly milk but I really did feel grown up drinking it and coffee has never tasted quite the same since. Nostalgia is powerful. I remember going out to the cottage one winter and shoveling off the ice so we could skate and being amazed that Dad knew how to skate!
And thank you most of all for being insistent about teaching us to speak with proper grammar………….and without the accent (at least not as much of an accent as most). I have had occasion to meet people during my lifetime who prided themselves on being able to tell what part of the country people were from by their speech. No one has ever been able to label me! A lot of that was probably also due to Oak Grove and going to school with girls from all over the country and from other countries as well. It was a rich and valuable experience, even though I didn’t appreciate it at the time. I still have friends from those days, but I still can’t really stand tea (unless it’s iced) because of the obligatory Sunday afternoon “dress up” formal teas we all had to attend.
Most of all, thank you for being a wonderful example of what a mother should be. I hope that I have passed the information to my children as you did, not in words but in everyday lessons by example.