Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. We normally pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re dropping the question and going free form with short stories about each of our mothers. We hope you’ll join in and provide your own anecdote.
Tell us about your mom!
Susan Nye: As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking about the many gifts my mom has given me. Not the baby dolls or bicycles, the Fair Isle sweater or the bright red stew pot I still use today. Mom didn’t pass on her very long legs but she gave me her enthusiasm for spirited conversation.
Dinner at our house served two purposes. It kept the family from starving and, more important, it brought us together. My mother was not particularly interested in cooking but she was very keen on family dinner. Most evenings we hung out for a good hour, sometimes longer. The television was never on. The telephone was ignored.
Every night we shared our news, victories, trials and tribulations. We discussed everything and anything – our day at school, our favorite books, celebrities and stars as well as the Boston Bruins and Red Sox. As we got older, political and social issues were frequently discussed.
It was an exciting, turbulent time, a time of great change; kind of like now. We vigorously discussed the virtues and vices of the President and a whole host of politicians, public figures, crusaders and crooks. We deliberated over the war, civil rights, women’s rights and the environment. We shouted, we laughed, we jockeyed for position. We talked all at once and interrupted each other in our excitement and enthusiasm. Somehow or other we managed to listen to each other (if only barely) and respect each other (if sometimes grudgingly).
Those dinners were tremendous confidence builders. Even when she disagreed, Mom never discouraged my youthful dance with new ideas. Within our protective family circle, I tested new insights and changing opinions. I learned to listen and scrutinize an idea before accepting or rejecting it. Those dinners helped me develop the self-confidence to speak up, share my ideas and stories and listen to others. I am forever grateful.
Diane MacKinnon: Reading Susan’s post reminds me of my family’s supper table. Those meals and those conversations were the best.
One of the many things my mom gave me was her love of reading. By the time I was 11 I read whatever she was reading. Her favorite book is Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham. I started reading it in high school and I complained to her about how dreary it was and how unlikeable the characters. “Keep reading,” she said, and I did. By the end of that story I was totally in love with it and I still am. It’s one of those books I still think about, which is my idea of great art.
My mom also instilled in me the idea that I had a voice–that what I had to say was worth hearing. Around that chaotic dinner table (there are only 3 1/2 years between my oldest and youngest sibling–and there are 5 of us!) the 7 of us laughed and talked and were told, in unspoken ways, that we mattered. Thanks, Mom!
Jamie Wallace: Two years ago, in a post titled Thanks, Mom, I wrote about how my mom inspired my love of reading and writing, how she is my go-to editor for Really Important Pieces of Writing, and how she is consistently and fiercely supportive of my writing dreams. All these accolades remain just as true (if not more so) today.
When I tried to think of a “short story” to share about my mom, I was troubled to find that no specific anecdote sprang to mind. While I have plenty of “remember when” stories about other family members, I found myself floundering to come up with a specific tale about Mom.
And then I realized that the reason I was challenged to find a single moment to share is because my mom is such a steadfast presence in my life. We talk on the phone almost every day. I tell her everything, and she’s always there for me. She is patient and intuitive, empathetic, and insightful. She is a proverbial “rock” – a grounding, centering force in my world.
The “story” of my mom is made up of a million humble acts of compassion and kindness. It is told in countless moments of encouragement, and hours and hours of listening to me tell my stories (did I mention that the woman is patient?). While I realize that my mom is her own person with a secret inner life and a story that’s solely hers, I am grateful each and every day for the moments she shares with me.
Lisa J. Jackson: I grew up in the house my mother grew up in, and her mother grew up in, and her mother grew up, and you get the picture. The family homestead. My folks still live in the house and it contains a lot of family history. There are so many photos throughout the living room, dining room, and den — even a pencil drawing my uncle drew of the house when he and my mother were kids.
All my stories about my mom involve the house and how she, to this day, keeps it filled with smiles and love and family stories.