Betty Kaiser’s Chatter Box: Mother’s Day Memories

Head’s up everyone! This coming weekend is Mother’s Day. Now that you’ve been warned, there’s no excuse for you forgetting your wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother or anyone dear to your heart that you call “mother.”

Mothers of all ages appreciate being remembered on their special day. So, start planning now to make their day. You’ll be glad you did.

Most moms are easy to please. Think about it. They raised you, didn’t they? At some point they must have told you how special you are to them. Maybe it was that primitive watercolor painting that you brought home from kindergarten and she framed. Or the Mother’s Day poem in your childish scrawl that still hangs above her desk; she loves you.

It takes so little to touch a mother’s heart. Forget about the expensive stuff on the TV ads. Moms are just thrilled if you’re there. Flowers? Buy a single potted petunia to plant in the garden. Forget to send a fancy card? No worries; just pick up the phone and tell her that you love her.

No money for a fancy dinner? Show up on her doorstep with her favorite chocolates wrapped in a ribbon and a great big hug. You’ll make her day.

And if your mom has gone to her heavenly reward, say a little prayer of gratitude.

How do I know all of these things? Because I’m a mother and it was the best job that I ever had. A mother’s love and caring instincts kicked in quickly for me and knew no bounds.

I worked 24 hours a day for 20-plus years and was paid in hugs and kisses. Still, from the day a baby is born and brought home until they fly away on their own, it’s work, work, work.

But I always thought that was why we had kids. Their wants and needs ordered my days — from dawn to dusk and often, all night. Some people complain about the teenage years but I thought they were a walk in the park compared to infancy, toddlers and elementary school.

Actually, looking back, I sometimes wonder how I survived. My husband worked long hours, six days a week, often until midnight. He was also in the US Army Reserve. We had been married one year when our daughter Kathy was born.

Jeff came two years later and John a mere 13 months after that. Money was scarce and so were creature comforts. No dishwashers or new-fangled clothes dryers. I spent most of my time feeding and burping babies, sterilizing bottles and formula, changing diapers, doing laundry by hand, ironing, hanging diapers on the clothes line and folding clothes after everyone went to bed.

I was young and energetic enough to cope with chaos. Most of the time. There were days when I was sure that I was going crazy. When the kids were toddlers, I really looked forward to naptime. But they all slept in the same room. Kathy dozed right off.

Jeff was not so cooperative. One day he was very quiet. I looked in and he was gone! I found him outside in his underwear riding up and down the street on the neighbor kid’s tricycle! John never slept at nap-time. His favorite trick was to empty out all the dresser drawers — every day.

There was never a dull moment and lots of joy as their growing stages and harmless mischief kept me smiling.

In my childhood, Mother’s Day celebrations were a big deal and very formal. Growing up, the day revolved around my mother and grandmother’s wishes. Sunday was church day. Everyone dressed in their Sunday best — suits and hats — orchid corsages were mandatory! And dinner at the steak house with three well-behaved children was a must.

My Mother’s Day morning as a mom of three kids under the age of four years old was a little wilder. I would coax the kids out of bed and feed them cold cereal for breakfast.

Sticky hands and faces were washed before they were dressed in their Sunday best; hair was combed and kids were plopped down in front of TV cartoons while I got dressed.

Then, between the time I ironed my dress and put on my stylish hat, an argument would break out. “Mom, he hit me!” And inevitably, one of the boys would run outside, fall down and rip out the knees of his new Sunday suit. Kathy stayed in her room just to avoid the commotion.

Somehow all five of us got out the door and into the car. As my husband drove, I would pull out a bottle of nail polish and paint my nails—praying they would be dry by the time we got to church.

After church we all went out to supper (where the boys climbed under the table!) and then home for a nap!

Mother’s Day always began with chaos but was rewarded with hugs and kisses.

Happy Mother’s Day to moms of all eras! May all your memories be sweet.

And if you’re a new, overwhelmed mom, remember that childhood is fleeting but love endures forever.

Contact Betty Kaiser’s

Chatterbox at 942-1317 or email [email protected]