Country Living Series

Sunday, May 13, 2018

What my mother did for me

Happy Mother's Day to all moms out there! Here's a small tribute to my own mother – my WND column for this weekend originally titled "What My Mother Did for Me."


For those unable to access the WND website, here's the text.



What My Mother Did for Me

Let me tell you a little story.

My mother was born in 1933 in the bayous of Louisiana and raised in what could only be called a seriously dysfunctional family. They lived in the direst poverty and starvation was not uncommon (Mom was so thin she still only weighed 87 pounds when she got married at age 27). Her violent and alcoholic father beat her and her 12 siblings so unmercifully that two of her brothers were left mildly brain-damaged. He also raped some of her sisters. Her mother (my grandmother) did her best to cope with the brutality and abuse, but she went blind by the age of 35; and with 13 children to raise during the Depression and World War II, she had little choice but to stay with my grandfather.

Unwilling to repeat the chaos of her childhood, my mother chose to leave that environment, educate herself in nursing, and become a professional. Good start! Then she began dating a doctor. She was madly in love with him, she relates. But this doctor – like my grandfather – drank. One evening after a date, the doctor escorted my mother back to her apartment, threw up in her kitchen sink, and passed out on the sofa.

As my mother cleaned up the mess, she thought to herself, “If I marry this man, I’ll be cleaning up his vomit for the rest of my life.” She told him she never wanted to see him again.

Two months later, she met the man who would become my father. They married a year after that. My mom is now 86 and my dad is 82. Aside from the usual laments of elderly bodies, they’re both in pretty good shape for a couple of old folks. My parents still hold hands after nearly 60 years together.

The best thing my mother ever did was marry my father. But marrying him was no accident, it was a choice. She had the foresight to look ahead, down the long path of life, and consciously choose not to marry a man like her father. Instead, she chose to marry a decent, kind man who was intelligent, a good provider, and loved children. This led to my brothers and me being raised in a stable and happy home. These good choices are still impacting the lives of my mother’s children and grandchildren.

They say the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. Of course not every occupant of every cradle grows up to rule the world, but every single one of us grows up to rule ourselves. How well that is accomplished – how well we rule and regulate and control our own behavior – is due in part to the influence of that hand that rocked the cradle. But it goes back every further, before the cradle was ever part of the equation. It goes back to who was chosen to father that cradle’s occupant.

I firmly believe Mother’s Day isn’t just about moms. It’s also about dads. A woman doesn’t become a mother without the help of a father, and this happens long before a baby is born. It happens when a woman meets a stranger’s eyes across a crowded room and a spark flies. What happens next is up to the woman. There are few decisions in life that will have a greater impact on her children.

Often when a woman gets married, she doesn’t look at the reality of what life will be like beyond the altar. This is, in theory, the man she wants to see across the breakfast table for the next 50 years. So why doesn’t she choose someone with compatible views on family, children, religion, money, life goals and other critical factors?

And, assuming she’s been fortunate enough to make vows with a man compatible in all those areas, why would she complicate her relationship with this treasured person by being difficult to live with? Why would she become nagging or critical or cold?

For feminists, empowering women is all about emasculating men. My mother has never – and I mean never – trashed-talked my dad. In fact, one of her lessons she taught us as teens was, “Your behavior reflects upon your father. Think carefully about what you do.” It was enough to keep us in line.

My mother never tore down my father, she built him up. He did the same for her. It’s been a true partnership that’s lasted six decades so far. In a nutshell, my mother chose her spouse wisely and treated him kindly – and this action had, and continues to have, long-term multi-generational repercussions.

And that, you see, is what my mother did for me. Not just me, but for my three brothers. And not just my brothers and me, but for our spouses. And not for just me, my brothers, and our spouses, but for our kids. And not just for me, my brothers, our spouses, and our kids, but for these kids’ future spouses and their kids. And so on and so forth down the generations … all because my mom refused to marry a drunken sot and married my dad instead, and thus gave us all a role model for marital stability.

My mother started out life in just about the worst circumstances imaginable – poverty, starvation, alcoholism, physical violence – and certainly with no suitable role models in sight. It was her, and her alone, who charted a wise course in life, selected a wonderful husband, and raised her children well. She taught us to respect our dad as an authority figure. Together, my parents taught us to work hard and honorably. They taught us the value of common sense. And those lessons stuck.

It also illustrates the power of choice. You don’t have to have a perfect background to make wise choices in life. As my mother demonstrated, your background can be as bad as humanly possible, and yet you can still rise above and set the course of future generations on the right track through your own actions. That’s a lot of power in each and everyone’s hands.

A happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there who made smart choices in their lives. Your children will rise up and call you blessed.

And to my own mom – thank you.

20 comments:

  1. Ok, I've printed a copy of this article to pass around. I'm retired now, but for many years I worked in a field where I dealt with people on the fringe of society. Repeatedly, nearly constantly, I had to tell these people to blame their circumstance on their own choices. "But my mother..." was not an excuse by the time they themselves became adults. You decide to, or not to, take a different train. leave the old baggage on the platform. Don't take it with you. Just take a different train and get new baggage, better baggage when you get to new situations.

    When my own son once teasingly blamed me because he had a funny crooked toe that his father has I told him I could have chosen his father for gorgeous looks instead of great brains and exemplary character. But I'd have likely had to murder the man before I had a chance to conceive because I can't stand morally empty vacuous pretty people.

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  2. My father had a problem with alcohol, but he tried very hard to enable me to attend college. I can remember my pass book savings account with deposits of 3 and 4 dollars. If that was all he could afford that was what he gave me. Both my brother and I went to collage thanks to my parents saving for us and our working while attending college. We both went on to successful carriers in our fields and that was all thanks to our parents sacrificing for us as we grew up. You sometimes have to select the right parents.

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  3. Thanks be to God for the grace given to your mother to see so clearly the party that lie ahead for her with a drunk doctor and the wisdom to do the right thing. Blessed mother's day to you

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  4. Feminism is not about emasculating men. Some men think that, but they are wrong and it shows that they need to learn more about feminism and stop thinking it's all about them.

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    1. Amen ..because that was a wonderful sermon!

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    2. No, WOMEN think feminism is about emasculating men. Feminism is perhaps the most selfish, culturally destructive force of our time.

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    3. It's ALWAYS about men. To men, everything their woman does is about them. If she had 10,000 things to do and forgot to do the laundry or burned dinner, it's about them. If she has two in diapers and doesn't even refuse sex, but isn't sufficiently responsive, it's about them. If she gets down on her knees and begs for permission to leave home for a few weeks to help her parents in a time of mortal crisis, it's about them.

      That's how men are. One of the cruelest lies of feminism is teaching girls and young women that they have a right to expect them to be any other way.

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    4. Same person again-- I really can't emphasize this enough. Asking that men "stop thinking it's all about them" IS EMASCULATING!!

      Feminism deceives girls and destroys women (and men) by setting women up to believe that men can and should be something other than what they are.

      They're MEN. They are NOT WOMEN. They're not our mothers, not our aunties, not our friends. God didn't make them to be our partners; God made them to be our MASTERS, to be equal to His authority on Earth.

      Feminism teaches girls to expect to grow up to marry a friend, an equal, a partner, and to choose based on that dynamic.

      If you want a happy marriage, don't choose a friend. Choose a MASTER, and make it the last decision you ever make for yourself.

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    5. How sad. It sounds like you have either been burned badly or raised in a sorry situation. Hope that you are able to overcome the obvious animosity you feel for men and find peace.

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  5. I wish there were more women like your mother. And more real men like your father. I know to many women that think they can change their man. They are married and miserable because when they fell in love in their twenties they did not use a brain cell. Most people don't change. If you aren't happy with him before you marry him you shouldn't marry him.

    I'm lucky. I met my hubby through my oldest sister. They were friends. We started dating when I was in high school. We got married when I was 18 and just celebrated 25 years. He still makes me laugh every. We are a team in everything we do. Does he drive me crazy with some things. Yes! We live together. But we are loving respectful adults. I chose him as my life long partner. If we have a problem we talk about it. We work on it together. He puts me first and I put him first.

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  6. I love this story... I will say though, as a happily married, stay-at-home feminist that I do not emasculate men. I don't subscribe to the idea that feminism naturally leads to this. Any person can tear down another person of a different gender. Again, a lovely story about your parents.And a wonderful model for your own marriage to my brother...

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    1. Your brother is a pretty awesome dude (grin).

      - Patrice

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  7. Sometimes, I want to cry. Because I thought we did choose carefully.

    Our views weren't identical, but we discussed them and discussed them and thought they were compatible.

    Kids-- He wanted two sons to ensure the continuation of his family name; I would have preferred to stop at two kids, but once we had one I realized I was willing to mother as many as we could support. Twenty years later, he resents having so many children (four, over the course of 12 years-- hormonal BC made me sick, he didn't want me to get sterilized after the third, and I refused to abort the eventual result, although I did successfully plead for permission to get my tubes tied). I wonder if it would have made a difference if I'd had two girls and two boys, instead of miscarrying the second son and then carrying the last daughter to term.

    Money: We thought it was a good balance that he was a little more free-spending than me. We thought he'd make sure we always managed to have some fun, and I'd make sure we always paid the bills first. Twenty years later, he resents me for the fact that we had to take "cheap, stupid vacations" instead of luxury getaways and 7-day cruises until his student loans were paid off and our mortgage was no longer eating 30% of his take-home pay.

    He said he liked the fact that I had guy friends and girl friends. Twenty years later, he treasures his girl friends, sends them flowers and candy... And I can't count the number of times I've been reminded that he could accuse me of adultery any time because I've been alone in a room with a man who's not my father for more than 15 minutes.

    Twenty years ago, I first thought he might be The One when, as a friend, he caught me sobbing in the throes of a depressive episode and a panic attack, and instead of getting off the phone in disgust he walked a mile and a half to my house with Swiss Miss in his backpack. Once we started talking about dating, I told him that I would always struggle with depression and anxiety, and delineated very clearly EXACTLY how brutal that could get. He said, "It's OK." Twenty years later?? I try to keep my mouth shut. I woke up this morning, for the fifth morning in a row (but only the first that he's had to see) to a shaking panic attack. As I sobbed while fixing breakfast, he told me that I'd better get my f****** S*** together and stop crying like a g****** baby, or he'd have to leave and make sure I never see the kids again.

    His parents were abusive. I knew him for 5 years before we married and started having kids. We saw them for two weeks every Christmas and a month every summer. I asked questions, because they seemed too polite. He always said they were just very proper people. I laid out all my family's dirty laundry for him, so he could make an informed decision about what he was getting and because I knew it would all out someday anyway. I didn't find out about his upbringing until I had to live with them a few years ago because they needed care. I found out when they demanded, cruelly and insistently, that I batter our children to "keep them from turning out to be weak whiny brats and welfare trash like you."

    I told them that we'd been on welfare for a few years when I was a kid. I thought hearing that they weren't the only ones that got burned when the steel industry tanked might make them feel better. I've never had to ask for public assistance in my adult life. I'd sign away my parental rights and die in the street before I'd ask for a handout, but I didn't have a choice when I was SIX.

    We tried. It still went bad. I guess I was a stupid woman. I was never a feminist, but I didn't always truly understand that women are the property of their husbands once the vows are exchanged, and required to show unspeaking and abject submission in all things. I guess it's my fault.

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    1. The only huge red flags I might have missed were that he was TOO nice, and proclaimed himself to be a feminist, and that he would often shush me while we were visiting his parents. I thought that he wanted to keep me from embarrassing myself or offending them, since they seemed so much more refined than my family...

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    2. I hurt for you. It doesn't fix anything but I want you to know I care. You are in my prayers.

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    3. Assuming all you wrote is true and not something said to stir up spirits of others I recommend you consider a private detective. Flowers and candy to females ona regular basis is signs of infidelity. His anger towards you and the life you both lead shows his dislike for his life which also leads to infidelity. I’m sharing this as an opinion, not knowledge of having experienced this myself. I do understand psychology and human nature though.

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    4. I know. It might just be part of his nature, needing to impress people to feel good. It might not. It doesn't really matter; I just want him to keep me long enough to raise the kids without a custody battle.

      I chose poorly; now I have to pay for my choice. That's all there is to it.

      I don't know what I'm hoping to accomplish with this. It's probably an emotional outpouring I shouldn't have allowed to happen. I-- want people to know that sometimes a bad choice looks like a good one, that you can try to do everything right and still end up wrong. Maybe it can be a cautionary tale to some young person.

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    5. And I want people to know that sometimes people bury the bad things DEEP. "We don't hang our dirty laundry on the line."

      They're still there.

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  8. Love is not a feeling. It's a choice. Your mom made a very wise choice. When the feeling is gone the choice still remains. That's why love is always a choice. Choose wisely.

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  9. How did your mom"s siblings turn out? Are any of them as successful at life as her? And what does your mom say about her mother? What did your grandmother do to try to counter the negative in the children's lives?

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