The Gift My Late Mother Gave Me
My inspiration in my life as a dairy wife and mom easily stems from my own mother. Perhaps the cookie-cutter lifestyle that I mimic is why she has always been a true mentor to me.
My mother passed away more than ten years ago from Advanced Lung Disease. During her short time here on Earth she lived a purposed-driven, amazing life. Her childhood varied greatly from mine. She witnessed much history—from attending John F. Kennedy’s Presidential Inauguration with her father and going to college at Ole Miss when the first African American attended the college during the civil rights movement.
Her wedding made the newspaper, stating, “Admiral’s daughter marries Oregon farm boy.” Mom’s life changed greatly from that day forward, but she was devoted from the get-go to being a farmer’s wife. She traded in her Italian leather gloves, silk blouses and mink coat for faded jeans, a beaten-up wool jacket and a pair of rubber boots.
My parents started poor and in love and together raised six children and dairied for nearly four decades. Somehow, through their different upbringing, together, my parents sewed strong values in each of us kids. Values like the ability to work hard, commitment, honesty, kindness and so much more that helped launch each one of us into adulthood.
My mom spoke the truth, always. Even if you didn’t like the message that she was telling you. She believed in her children and expected each of us to give 110%. No excuses. She settled for nothing less.
My mother made me tough, which has helped me deal with life’s challenges. Raising three kids on a family dairy farm isn’t for the faint of hearts. Often, days and nights have intertwined but the satisfaction of watching my three children – Tyler, 18, Cassie, 15 and Jacob, 11 – live the same life I did is unbelievably rewarding. The happiness that my heart feels stems from seeing my children stitched with the same strong values that has helped bond our family together, but also helped straighten their spines with confidence and build their mind with the ability to work hard.
Often, I share Grandma Michelle stories with my children. The stories of mom being our 4-H leader, crafting and baking for the needy, especially during holidays, and becoming one of the best cooks west of the Mississippi. The stories of staying up late to help of solve high school algebra problems to listening to me recite my FFA Creed Speech over and over again.
The power of a mother is enormous. A mom is more than a chauffeur, a cook or someone who does the laundry. A mother shapes self-esteem and responsibility in her children and makes endless sacrifices to empower her children. What a phenomenal gift.
So, I encourage all you mothers out there to stop saying, “I’m just a mom.” Because, in my eyes, a mom has immeasurable value.
Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there. Never doubt your importance to instill purpose and passion into your children. Try to slow down and see the joy a mom helps create.
And, Happy Mother’s Day in Heaven, mom. The best gift you gave me wasn’t wrapped in a bow. It was simply believing in me and pausing long enough to be present when I needed you the most. I love you forever.