In a couple weeks I'll be traveling across country to visit with my parents. In the United States, we celebrate Mother's Day in May with much hoopla, gifts and cards. But then, for whatever reason we sort of take them for granted. My stepmother will be eighty this year. As frightening as the concept is, I know that our time together is limited.
She came into my life the year I was eleven. I was a wild child, rude and angry because my mother had died the year before in a car accident. I certainly didn't want some strange woman telling me what to do, how to dress or any of the other important things that this woman tried desperately to pass on to me.
Things like courtesy and dressing neatly, cleanliness and respect for my elders. It was due to my stepmother's urging that I wrote to my grandparents and aunt and uncle who lived far away in Arizona. That's no small accomplishment when one of the correspondents is a mulish eleven-year-old.
She was terribly mean. She made me go to bed early. She expected good grades. And I had to do chores every week. When I finally graduated from high school and had a full time job, I was expected to pay rent!
When we were younger, she read a chapter each evening before we went to bed from a collection of Christian YA books. The stories were very exciting and we eagerly looked forward to the new chapter each evening. I still remember the last name of the family in the books--Jolly.
Though it no doubt was a pain on the ears, she made sure that I practiced the piano an hour every day. I played the piano for many years and that musical background has stood me in good stead all these years later.
I look forward to our visit even as I know that it will possibly be our last visit. Joy and grief. Memories and sorrow. Funny how they walk hand in hand. On this third of November let us be thankful for the women who had to courage to bear us for nine months and for those who raised us. Often those are not the same women as in my own case. Let us be thankful for the mothers, aunts, grandmothers, stepmothers and foster mothers who stand in the breech, doing whatever has to be done, teaching us the things we have to know to be worthy adults.