A mother's memories sweeten the years

The Examiner

I’m standing at my kitchen window staring at the mementos of Mother’s Days past. There is a wooden tulip, ceramic mug, paper flower, plastic vase and clay pansy. 

I’ve learned a lot about being a mother in 45 years. It’s on-the-job training and one I’ve enjoyed.  

Diane Mack

There are many inspirational “mother” memories, but one stands out, when my first child was married.  

With Mother’s Day approaching, I’ve thought a lot about this experience lately.  

This could be because my first child to get married, Ashley, has a birthday close to Mother’s Day. 

Being a mother does not end when they marry or move away. All of my children (8), and grandchildren (20), are still in my thoughts, every day.  

Some of those days are exhausting.  

Then, a transition comes … and here go the tears.  

Eighteen years ago, my daughter Ashley was married. She was the first child to get married. My heart still aches.  

In fact, I’ve been frequently flashing back to Ashley’s life because her son, my oldest grandson, will graduate next year. 

OK Ashley, this column is for you. 

The first time the doctor laid you in my arms, I had to let go, because you were tiny. I believe that day was preparation for your marrying and moving away.  

We lived in a rural area and you needed a little help. A nurse carried you to a plane, and they flew you to a special hospital for preemies.  

Three weeks later you came home and it was a joyous time in our lives. You were healthy and strong. 

Then I flash to your first day of kindergarten. Your hair was so curly. I think we used 25 sponge curlers. I kissed you and told you that I loved you. Then I cried the whole way home. 

I move on to when you lost your first tooth and then your first dance performance. Do you remember when everyone on the stage danced to the left and you danced to the right?  

You were so cute, however, a little disoriented. 

I remember one Christmas when we taped our traditional Christmas wish list. You asked for “an Easter dress for Christmas.”. 

I recall how pretty your smile was at your fifth-grade academic awards banquet. I was so proud of you. 

Then, you made the seventh-grade basketball team and later fractured your knee. I promise you, my uninjured knee hurt worse than your knee. 

I flash back when we shared with all of you that we were moving to Missouri. I cannot forget the look on your face.  

That night you told me that you prayed about it and knew that it was right. As a 14-year-old, you were gaining a maturity and independence that I liked. 

My last Mother’s Day with you was so hard. It all happened too fast. Where has the time gone?  

But I love you enough to give you to another and allow you to start your own Mother’s Day celebrations. 

Today you have five babies who were once placed in your arms.  

Last year, your youngest entered kindergarten. You have already played tooth fairy and enrolled her in dance lessons.  

You’ve probably taped your children’s wishes on Christmas Eve. 

Speed forward to academic award banquets and when any don’t make the team. Throw in a few moves to a new neighborhood or state.  

Before you know it, you’ll be standing in front of your kitchen window admiring the Mother’s Day gifts. 

Ashley, it all happens too fast. Just ask Grandma, because she experienced the same with me. And I saw her cry. 

I know the circle of our love and influence will never end. It enlarges and continues. It’s eternal. 

Happy Mother’s Day, Ashley. I love you. 

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at Director@jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.