My mother would have been 90 years old, had she lived. I always expected she would make it to 90 or maybe even 100. She died just before her 85th birthday and I never did tell her how I appreciated her. So, Mum, this is for you.
Mum was born in Wales and soon after her mother succumbed to scarlet fever. Her grandmother Curtis took on a new-born baby when she was 72 years old. Mum lived with her grandmother until she was 9 years old and then she was "taken" by authorities and placed in the "Police Orphanage." Her father, who had died when she was two, had been a policeman. She felt the loss deeply and never really recovered from growing up without a mother. She met and married my father during WW11 and became one of the thousands of war brides who found themselves entering Canada through Pier 51 in Halifax and then boarding the train to head out to the cold, wind-swept prairie.
Not long after I was born, and though it pains me, I believe I might have been an "accident." Mum spent hours with me, talking to me and reading to me. It was lonely on the farm. There was no electricity, no running water and no telephone. She had come from greater London to the isolation of rural Alberta. Three years later my brother was born.
Mum never missed an opportunity to support us. She was the family photographer and there are albums of us in school plays, in concerts, at track meets. She had no role model for how mothers should act so she just used her instinct. We had a happy childhood and a lot of freedom.
When my daughter was born in 1975, Mom looked after her ( at two and a half months) when I went back to school. A year and a half later, Dad died and she was widowed. In 1978, my son was born and Mom continued to babysit, but this time so we could have the occasional night out or holiday. She never said no unless she wasn't going to be home.
She continued to record school events and anything else where her grandkids appeared. You could count on her to be there early and to find a seat front and centre. Her bright red blazer made it easy to spy her. She never forgot a birthday and there was always a card and gift. She was a great knitter and everyone had sweaters or afghans she had made.
Mum loved animals and always had a cat or dog. They were horribly spoiled and Buttons, her last dog was her companion until she moved to the Battle River Lodge.
Her flowers were her pride and joy and it wasn't until I went to England myself that I realized she was trying to recreate an English garden on the harsh prairie. She pampered and fussed over tea roses, achieving success, even though they sometimes winter-killed. When she left her house, she had an oak tree established in her backyard.
She could have wicked sense of humour and liked nothing better than competitive Yahtzee on a long winter's evening. Sometimes, I shook my head at the choices she made, but more often than not she won.
So Mum, for all your work, the good times and the bad. Thank you.
Happy Mother's Day.
I've been writing on and off for years and this is where my more serious pieces will be.