Friday, April 13, 2012

My Mommy Tribute: K is for Kids

My mother's whole purpose in life was to be a mother to her kids. There were just the two of us, though she had hoped to have more. Life and biology don't always work out the way you want them to, though. But Mom had plenty of adopted kids in her life.

Whenever a friend of mine was in need, my parents offered up a place to stay. I can think of several instances where we had an extra body sleeping in my bedroom, on an extra couch, or even in the basement in later years. She even attached to some of the kids Dad was sponsoring, on occasion.

Mom loved babies more than anything. Because their furniture store ended up specializing primarily in baby furniture, Mom was able to nurture women going through pregnancy. Many customers ended up coming back to visit after the baby was born. Others, who already had young children, also came in seeking several items. If there was a particularly darling baby, Mom would always ask to hold the child. And then she would often ask if she could bring the baby through the door to our apartment to meet me. If parents were apprehensive, she would excuse herself to come get me to come out to meet the baby. She just loved them and most of them did well with her. She just had that big mama vibe that was so comforting.

This is a picture of my mom feeding her first favorite baby - me. :-)

When it was time for me to start babysitting, Mom always gave me a lot of advice. My first job came when I was 11 years old. My first client was 4 months old, but also had a 9 year-old brother. I was there every Saturday morning. Mom insisted that I call her at least once per shift, to check in and make sure everything was okay. My second, more frequent babysitting job, started with a little guy who was about six weeks old. I was 12, but because he was so small and the hours were so long at times, Mom had me watch him at our house. I kept that job until he was almost three years old. I learned more of her wisdom from that hands-on experience than any classes or books could ever teach me.

I continued asking for her guidance as I kept babysitting into adulthood. I even shared a lot of my stories from the classroom with her. She just loved hearing stories about what the kids were doing and learning. She always perked up when she had the opportunity to come visit my classroom. On one particular trip, she was coming to school with me to visit. My assistant ended up calling off last minute. My kids had Atrium, which meant half of them would be in a different room at once in the morning. My afternoon class was always about half the morning number. My administrator asked Mom if she wouldn't mind being my assistant that morning. She was so delighted to do so that she frequently brought up the experience for several years to follow.

Mom always looked forward to having grandchildren. I was very seriously involved with a man who had custody of his five year-old daughter. My mother spoiled her as if she were her own. Alas, that relationship didn't work out and I moved on. My parents finally got to the point where they told me that they didn't care if I had the man, just bring on the grandkids! (It was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I think!)

Again, biology and life don't always work out the way that we plan, and I was never able to give my mother the grandchildren she so desired. Instead, she is stuck with those of the cloth and plastic variety.

This picture was taken two days after Dad had died. We were all dressed up from another memorial service (Dad's cousin had died a couple of weeks before him) and decided to pay her a visit. When we got there, she kept playing with this doll. Sometimes, she would definitely let on that she was pretending it was real, just to freak people out. But then during other moments, I am not so sure that she knew the difference. If it makes her happy, though, who am I to judge?


  1. Our K post is about Kids too, but quite different.

    Sorry your mother never got grandkids.

  2. Oh, what a lovely post, Andrea. My mom loved kids, too, but she had trouble conceiving; I was born when she was 38 and my brother when she was 39; so there were only two of us. Like you, I don't have children of my own, but my brother gave her four beautiful grandchildren, and was able to see three of them grow in adulthood and one to late adolescence. She can still recognize them for the most part, though sometimes when I mention them by name she'll ask me who that is. Your last picture here is so much like a woman in my mom's assisted living; she carries a baby doll (and sometimes more than one) around with her and even tries to feed it at dinnertime. And it does make her happy. These memories of your mom are so poignant and sweet.

  3. my own emotional attachments to my own mother are so complicated, that your posts get to me every time. The pic of your mom with the doll resonates a little differently, as it is reminiscient of my dad who had alzhiermers. Near the end, she bought him a stuffed bear. I was horrified and thought it was disrespectful for some reason. My father loved that bear. He'd play with it on his wheelchair tray. And when he died at 3am, we weren't there. But his bear was.

  4. sounds like your mother was an excellent mother---that doll reminds me of the doll i gave my mother the her last Christmas---i think she knew it was not real, but she slept with it every night--sweet post

  5. Yes, who can judge happiness? Maybe she was pretending...or remembering?

  6. What a sweet tribute to your Mom, Andrea...she would be proud! Just stopping by from the Challenge...

  7. Oh Andrea.. that was just lovely. Brought me to tears. I can't imagine how hard it is to have someone you love go through Alzheimer's... but how eloquently you write about it. The photo of your mom with the doll? Priceless...

  8. Whatever makes her happy, right? I wish for grandkids but only if it works for my kids.
    Following /Visit

  9. Visiting from A/Z; I see you haven't posted in a few days; hope all is well. This was really poignant to read; your description of your mom's love for children was so touching. It brought back memories about my mom and her love for her "grands" (sadly she passed 5-1/2 years ago). I hope you continue on with the challenge if you can do so! good luck with it!


  10. Hello, Fellow Challenger, from #398 - aka Rockin'Chair Reflections! If she's happy, it's no one's business. Beautiful post and tribute. Come visit when you can.