Reflections of Ponoka: A tribute to mothers and grandmothers of now and then

Our mothers and grandmothers are and always will be the gentler half of that wonderful team that brought their children into this world

Our mothers and grandmothers are and always will be the gentler half of that wonderful team that brought their children into this world, and then spent many loving but challenging years striving to lead us all in the right direction down the constantly changing path of life. As we celebrate Mother’s Day on May 12 let us all pause just a little and try to fondly remember that after madly falling in love with us at first sight, she patiently changed our diapers, fed us whether we liked it or not, bathed and dressed us, dried our tears, and had very little time for any other sort of social life in those early years.

Along the way she tended to us when we were sick and wished that she could have bored our pain, made sure we were safely inside/washed up, and tucked into bed every night, soothed our cuts and bruises while wiping away the tears, tried not to spank too hard when we had to be punished, and had an uncanny way of convincing us kids to eat everything on our meal plates, no matter how long it took, with our favourite dessert and treat promises the rewards. Later on she took us to our first day in school, cheered for our first team game, let us beat her at video games, bravely approved our first date, convinced dad to let us take the car, proudly cried at our graduation, and on and on, because it never really ends when it comes to raising a family.

No matter what our age or category of parenthood we are now in, we will always admit that it was not until we became adults and parents that we really began to realize and appreciate WHO MOTHER REALLY IS. She kept her house in order, no matter what, she nurtured us through our childhood, put up with our sassy ways and the trying times of our teenage years, and then continues to worry as a mother and a grandmother long after her siblings have reached adulthood and enter that very same overwhelming adventure of raising a family and being a good and loving wife. There is none like a mother, whose ongoing job always promises to be a long and tough one, through overwhelming times of good and bad, joy and sadness. While we all know that she has always done her very best to raise her children from tots to teens to adults, she often worries that she hasn’t done her best, and that they didn’t turn out like she hoped and prayed they would. Of course mothers are only human like the rest of us, never perfect, and capable of making mistakes and sometimes missing the mark, but the amazing characteristic that set her apart is her everlasting love, understanding, and mostly unflappable patience for her children and her family, as well as her always strong and passionate intent that they will lead normal and well-adjusted lives, no matter what the challenges might be.

The lifetime skills we learned from our mothers

All these statements and so many others were uttered to most children by our wise and patient mothers during our growing up process. If we can remember back that far, we will admit that these lessons of life were usually presented many times in a strict, occasionally louder, but always loving fashion, until it all finally sunk in. Hopefully by the time the kids leave the family nest.

* Time travel. “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week.”

* Logic. “Because I said so, that’s why.” More logic…. “If you fall out of that swing and break your leg, you are not going to the store with me.”

* Foresight. “Make sure that you wear clean underwear, in case you are in an accident.”

* Irony. “Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

* Osmosis. “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

* Contortionism. “Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck?”

* Stamina. “You will sit there until all the spinach is gone.”

* Weather. “This room of yours looks like a tornado went through it.”

* Circle of life. “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out….”

* Behaviour modification. “Stop acting like your father.’

* Genetics. “Sometimes you are just like your father.”

* Envy. “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

* Anticipation. “Just wait until we get you home.” Receiving. “You are going to get it when you get home.”

* How to become an adult. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

* Humour. “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

* All about our roots. “Shut the door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”

* Wisdom. “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

* Medical science. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to stay that way.”…and “If you keep picking your nose, you might get your finger stuck.”

* Justice (we saved the best for last). “One day you’ll have kids of your own, and I hope that they turn out just like you.”

At the age of 70 I have always cherished the wonderful memories of my late and very precious little English mother, and of growing up in Ponoka. Along the way I have also been blessed with the additional love of a very special step-mother. As we gather together or chat on the phone or email to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend (and all year round), the greatest gift that we can share is to show our appreciation and love for all that these unique and amazing ladies have done for us over those wild, fun, and exciting years of our youth, and far beyond.