Accolades, appreciation, applause – not exactly the hallmarks of motherhood. Silently enduring trial after trial, year after year more closely follows the mom resume. We Catholic moms teach our children to walk and talk, behave and pray. We introduce youngsters to Sunday Mass even though it’d be a whole lot easier and less stressful to leave the dear darlings at home. But we can’t do that and teach them their Catholic faith. So we work hard to be good examples to our children, and every so often our efforts are acknowledged in some small way. We catch our child standing up for the underdog. We overhear another parent complimenting the manner in which our teenager conducts himself. Occasionally the child herself expresses thanks for a lesson learned…a lesson taught by us. Those are the good days in Momland.
During the past few years I have learned some rather hard lessons myself. Appreciation has rarely been on the lips of my sons, ages 20-25. All four creatures live at home while working and attending college. And all four creatures are now grown men. Yes, I’ve admitted it – they are men, not my little boys any longer. Their personalities and habits have long been formed. They want to be self-sufficient, but aren’t. They want to make their own way in the world, but can’t – not yet. Soon two sons may be moving out to be on their own. I’m not holding my breath.
What I am doing is harping an awfully lot. “Take out the trash, wash the dishes, clean up your messes.” It’s the proverbial broken record. Why don’t they listen? Why don’t they understand that I know what is best for the smooth running of our home? Lately, I have spent many hours at my parents’ house. Since Mom and Pop moved into assisted living, my brothers, sisters-in-law, husband and I have put in much time readying the house for auction. Each day I spent at the farm was a day when I could readily see what I’d accomplished. Usually one room took one day. I walked in, looked around, decided what needed to be done, and did it, methodically moving through the house room by room.
And when I cleaned up a room no one followed in my wake to immediately mess it up, unlike here at home. How many dishes have we ladies washed? How many socks have we picked up from the floor? How many cupboards and drawers have we shut? When I shut a cupboard at the farm it stayed shut. Now, it is true that a living, breathing family no longer lives there, but it sure was refreshing to walk into that house each new day and see the previous day’s progress. Guess who else noticed? And guess who else complimented my efforts and made me feel appreciated? My brothers. Each and every one of them. They literally turned my head; I’m not used to such praise. And it felt mighty good.
Auction #1 was held three weeks ago, and a few days passed before my husband and I returned to the farm to grab a second load of furniture we’d bought. Walking into the big, empty kitchen our voices actually echoed. Surveying the vacant room I turned my head and what did my surprised eyes see but the grandfather clock – in the kitchen. The grandfather clock on which my husband and I bid at the auction. However we dropped out of the bidding when the price got a little too steep. We’d bought very many items already and thought we’d better pass on the clock. But there was the clock big as life. With a sign taped to it: “A timely reminder of all the work you’ve done ~ Your brothers.”
Accolades, appreciation, applause. I got all three! Maybe not for being a mom, but for being a sister. I had lost that clock. It was gone. Someone else bought it. But apparently my brothers made the new buyers an offer they couldn’t refuse. For me. To thank me. If I thought that clock was special before, it’s nothing compared to how special it is to me now. (Thanks, guys!) Auction #2 here we come!
Copyright 2010 Maureen Locher