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The Story Continues

Posted Jan 12 2012 1:47pm
Mom was a wonderful mom. She loved us so much.  We were her world.  And she was ours.  She made every Christmas magical.  No matter how tight money was, we had more Christmas presents under the tree than anyone I knew.  My younger sisters would wake up first and get everyone up.  We would play Christmas music and open our presents before the sun rose in the morning.  I have some tape recorded memories of some of those Christmases, with our young voices oohing and aahing over our new gifts.   I remember one Christmas someone came to our door with a bag full of presents for me and my sisters.  I never knew who they were, but I assume we were probably on the list at our church or something.  Little did they know, we already got everything we wanted from our mom!   Mom made our birthdays special, too.  We got to have birthday parties with friends spending the night, and Mom would put up with a bunch of screaming, giggly girls running through the house.  With five daughters, there were lots of birthday parties. 

We didn’t have a lot of money, but we sure had a lot of love.  Mom kissed us goodbye every morning before school, if she didn’t have to leave for work before we woke up.  There were many mornings she put a roast in the crock pot before she left for work and we would come home from school and smell that wonderful pot roast.  We learned to fix our own lunches and if there wasn’t enough food to pack, she would leave money for us to stop at the corner store to pick up some snacks to put in our lunch sacks.  We walked to school, no matter the weather.  We just learned to dress prepared.  One particular day it was so cold and rain and sleet was coming down.  A lady pulled up in a station wagon and told us to get in and she would drive us to school.  She had a couple of kids in the car and she said she knew our mom.  I politely told her no, even though my sisters were begging to get in the car. Mom always said not to go with strangers, and to me, she was a stranger. 

Since I was older, I saw and felt some things that my other sisters didn’t recognize.  I saw that mom was struggling.  I didn’t understand what was wrong then, but of course as I got older I understood more.  She was unhappy a lot, and I believe she was depressed.  She had to go to the hospital a couple of times and our grandmother had to come stay with us.  Our grandparents, Mom’s parents, came to check on us, but they lived on a farm and had to tend to it.  I remember her telling me that she needed a man to love her.  I'm sure it was really hard for her because there weren't many men out there who would want to date a woman with five kids.  I would say, “But you have us.  You have five daughters who love you very much.  Aren’t we enough?”  She would assure me that she loved us very much and she feels so loved by us, but a man’s love is different.  You will understand when you are older, is what she would tell me.   We had that discussion more than once, because she knew I didn't like it when she went on the few dates she had. 

Saturdays were house cleaning days when we were kids.  If Mom had to work, which she often did, I would delegate responsibilities for the housework.  I usually mowed the grass, trimmed the bushes, and did all of the yard work myself.  Somebody had to do it, and I actually did not mind, unless the darn lawnmower didn't start.  Grandpa would always come to the rescue though.  Each sister would pick a room they wanted to clean and everyone was responsible for their own bedrooms, which were shared.  Nobody wanted to clean the bathroom, but we made sure everyone got their turn.  Sometimes it would turn into a fight, but most of the time we were OK with the room we got.  Mom would come home from work and we would greet her at the door.  We couldn’t wait to see the expression on her face as soon as she came inside the house.   We were so proud of our work and we wanted Mom to pick out the room she thought was the cleanest.  She would walk around from room to room, with five girls following her, smiling at her comments of how beautiful the house looks and how we did such a great job cleaning.  Mom would often say she can’t decide which room looks the best, they all look so nice.  We kind of expected her to say that each time, but we would still hold out that she might pick our room.  

Every summer Mom took us girls to Great America in St. Louis.  We would stay in a motel in the area and go to the amusement park during the day and stay until we were dizzy and exhausted.  Then we would go back to the hotel and swim and play in the pool.  Another summer we all took a vacation to Florida.  That was a wonderful experience for all of us.  Mom packed all of our camping gear and bags of food in the trunk and whatever didn’t fit in the trunk, went on the rack above the car.  I remember, along with apples and other packable foods, Mom packed a gazillion canisters of Pringles and pull-top cans of fruit cocktail and diced peaches.  She packed so much of it, we even came home with some.  I couldn’t eat Pringles for years after that.  We stopped at all the tourist traps along the way.  Yeah, we got suckered in.  We only ended up camping the first night because after the nightmare of experience it was…pitching the tent, taking it down, sleeping on the hard ground, and Mom not liking the fact that the bathroom was so far away (that’s what really saved us from having to camp again!) she decided we would stay in hotels from now on.  We were on the move this whole vacation, driving from one beach to the next, down the gulf side and over to Disneyworld, then down to Miami Beach and part of the keys.  Then on the way back, Mom drove straight through, all night long.
I look back on my childhood and have such fond memories of how we all got along.  How Mom loved us so much and wanted what was best for us.  I know there were problems with our relationship with our Dad after the divorce, but I will talk about how that all got resolved later.  This blog is about my mom, and my sisters, and I wanted to share some background information on where we came from as a family, and leading up to where we are now.  Please stay tuned…
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