I watched her navigate the aisles of the grocery store, steering her cart with one child in the seat, another clinging to the side, and she herself pregnant with a third. She corrected her children, consulted her shopping list, compared prices and kept moving rapidly and efficiently through the store and finally to the checkout where she unloaded the cart, denied her children’s cries for candy, exchanged comments with the cashier, fished out her card to pay, and then steered the loaded buggy and her children out into the parking lot. Behold the young mother: the original multitasking machine.
|Mom and Dad (June and Bill Connelly, Manassas, VA in 1959. That was|
Grandma and Grandpa's car, and they probably took this photo since they
were into photography and had a color camera. The car later became ours.
|Dollie Holstein with Larry and his twin sister Mary, probably about 1954. Yes,|
that's a big bruise on Mary's head, probably caused by that little guy on the left.
Those memories led me to my husband’s mother, who grew up in a coal camp in Boone County, WV and went on to marry a coal miner and live in Cabin Creek. She saw first-hand the struggle for the miners’ union and knew the hardships of coal camp living: the poorly built company houses, the company store and the dangers of using scrip for credit, the constant dust and dirt raised by passing trucks and coal trains. Yet she, like my mother, was determined to make the best of what life had brought her. She cared for her husband when he was injured in the mines and raised her four children to be able to take care of themselves, to work for what they got and to never lose sight of their heritage. She loved dishes with pretty flowers on them, and grew roses every year, carrying out her dishwater to wash the coal dust off their petals.
Mothers. They teach us grace and dignity, they show us by their example how to live lives of beauty and commitment. As our world gets increasingly complex and confusing, it is the mothers who provide the light that can guide their children to ethical, empathetic, and responsible living. Today we hear much about dysfunctional families, absentee parents, and troubled children. Yet the other story—the story of the quiet, steady mothers who work and care for their families and homes—that story is seldom told. It is not a headline grabber or tabloid material.
So here’s to the mothers who stand behind their families, guiding them like that young mother with her grocery cart, making wise decisions and teaching her children right from wrong. Happy Mother’s Day to her, and to mothers everywhere.
Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.