Someone once asked if my mother worked.
Well, she was a beautician who ran a shop out of our Defiance home for more than 50 years. But as far as work goes ….
She raised seven children. She thought it would be six, but child No. 6 turned out to be twins. No one saw that one coming, not even the doctor, until the day they were born.
She did laundry in the basement of a two-story home, carrying the clean clothes up both flights of stairs, day after day, year after year. She said the exercise would keep her young.
While growing up, we sat together for a family dinner every night. She always felt that was important.
When it became steaming hot in the summer, she loaded us up in the station wagon and headed to Pokagon State Park in Angola, Ind., so we could swim. Never mind the vehicle had no air-conditioning.
She was quick to bake a pie when the church needed help with a funeral dinner.
Our friends were always welcome in our home; they also knew where they could find her baked goods.
She kept tabs on all of us; boy, did she keep tabs.
She was a mother. A teacher. The one who showed us how to enjoy life, and most of all, to respect ourselves and others.
I know many of you were blessed with mothers just like mine. The stories may be different, but the love they provided is the same.
When I think of my mother, I always will think of my father, too. They were inseparable, two peas in a pod, as the old saying goes. Sixty-three years of marriage. They were always at each other’s side.
A few years back, I made a surprise visit to see them on the way home from a weekend fishing trip with some old high school friends. The surprise was on me as I entered the house and heard the music of Perry Como playing on the 1970s’ stereo system. In the living room they were dancing, arm in arm, like two teenagers.
The music played once more at 9:45 p.m. on Dec. 10. They held hands one last time. Then as Mom peacefully took her last breath, the song Silent Night came on the radio.
It was her favorite Christmas carol.
She would cry when she heard it, just as her own mother did so many years ago.
I will think of her every time I hear that song.
And it will be a Merry Christmas.