Mother’s Day – A Letter to my Children

Dear Children,

It seems odd to say ‘dear children’ since you are 54, 52, 51 and 50. Yet, you are still my children and will be forever!
Though the miles separate us from Arkansas to Georgia, Ilinois, Wisconsin and California, you are as close as my heart, as close as all the memories from the past that rise in my mind. Every year I wonder why I am the one who receives cards and gifts. Without you I wouldn’t be a mother at all.

This title of Mother has been exalted through the years for raising one’s children. I maintain that my children raised me. So many times I learned from you, our children during the brief time we had together — until you began raising your own families.

  • Concern as our second son, who was shy, attended school. Then during a teacher conference, the Kindergarten teacher reported that my shy son hit another child. She was astonished when I commented vociferously — ‘Good”. Then he isn’t as shy as I thought. (Of course, my reputation as a mother was besmirched)
  • Another teacher conference mentioned that my children were well behaved in the classroom. Astonishment adorned my face, “Are you sure we are talking about my children?”
  • As a neophyte teacher, I remembered the comments my four children made and they impacted the way I taught:
    • The oldest asked why he had to go to school with people who did not want to learn. It was hard to wait until everyone else ‘got it’.
    • The second asked if he knew he knew what was being taught, why should he convince the teacher?
    • The third son found short-cuts where there weren’t any. From him I learned that a paper on a president, I have forgotten which one, could be creatively written by copying every other sentence from the encyclopedia.
    • From our daughter I learned about persistence as we moved the piano to her bedroom, and she proceeded to learn to play – from a halting ‘what-is-that-note’ to a rollicking beat.
  • During our time in Kansas I learned:
    • That the oldest thought using psychology was a matter of ‘what to hit him with’. This was in reference to learning to share one tricyle with his little brother. “Play with something else and act like it is fun, and then your brother will want to play with it, leaving the tricycle.”
    • That our third son, still in the crib, banging his head on the end of the crib while getting ready to take a nap, had perfect pitch. The piano tuner played a pitch on the piano, and each time he did, our third son hummed the same pitch.
    • When I played the piano I learned that the rapt attention of my children didn’t come from enjoying the music, but the side of the piano was a wonderful place to cut teeth. Teeth marks still attest to their ‘interest’ in music.
  • Their teen years were filled with many of their experiences that spilled over into learning lessons for their mother.
    • A sucession of boy friends for my daughter.
    • Driving lessons…..that were sometimes frightening family outings as dictated by their father.
    • As the third son drove to the ‘Y’ on Vandalia in Collinsville, I uttered my favorite words, “Be Careful.” The third son stopped the car, looked at me patiently and asked, “Mom, how long have I been driving?” Six months was my reply. “Then do you think you could not tell me to be careful every time I drive?”
    • Our oldest son went through the phase of the long hair during the hippy age and all that went with it. Again I learned many lessons that teenagers tend to teach their parents.
    • Watching our 3rd son and daughter leave in the old green rambler for highschool as the snow continued to cascade on the 6 inches already on the ground. I saw my daughter lean out of the window at the 45 degree turn and yell, “Turn.” I hoped the windshield wipers would soon be fixed.
    • Our evening meals turned into a time of creative word jousting and constant laughter.
    • Whose-turn-is-it-to-wash-the-dishes was a nightly discussion. For bright children, their chore-memory often failed.

For all these memories and many more, I thank you, each and every one. For the laughter, the lessons and constant joy, I thank you. For your faith in God and teaching your children, I thank you.

Mother’s Day is an honor to my children. And I love you — each of you!

Comments? eacombs@gmail.com