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A Mother is your First Friend, Your Best Friend, Your Forever Friend!

May 15, 2022

Our mother celebrated her 97th birthday this year. In her lifetime, she has influenced us in ways that helped us grow into strong women with a purpose in this life. Is there a greater gift a mother could give her children? She’s passed this legacy of love to her 3 daughters, her 7 grandchildren and her 12 great-grandchildren.

As we reflect on mom’s life and her gifts to her family, we are flooded with memories of life growing up on a family farm, near Ewart, Iowa. When we think of Mom, we are reminded of how hard-working and self-sacrificing she is. Even the really fun stuff, like the birthday parties or having neighbors over every Sunday to play softball or swim in the pond, was ultimately work for her but we never knew that. We only knew, and now remember, the great times we had with neighbors and cousins, and always it was her hospitality that made these memories possible. We have vivid memories of times when neighbors helped neighbors – remembering the fires in the night, the illnesses of neighbors, and other adversities that resulted in an outpouring of a community response. Mom was always involved with cooking meals for the neighbors who helped harvest a crop or sitting with an elderly person or doing other errands for them. She is giving, always graciously giving. We saw Mom work side by side with Dad to provide a living for their family on the farm.  We enjoyed canning and freezing the produce that was grown in her large garden.  I’ll spare you the details of killing and dressing chickens!  At times, she took another job to help meet the expenses of a growing family. Mom seemed to have endless stamina. Mom taught us that it is a good thing to work hard, to get the most out of life. She taught us how to be a good neighbor and friend, and we so admire her ability to make new friends. Invariably when mom traveled, shared conversations became friendly relationships. We watched as she got off a plane because inevitably, she would be chatting away with someone as though they were her long-lost friend. She always said the best part of traveling was the people she met along the way. Her last trip was when she was 89 years old and took our family on a riverboat cruise through Amsterdam and Holland.

We know how much her family means to her– all of her life, she has had family as a priority and has given to each of us in so many ways. I don’t know how many of us would have gotten through the arrival of our children without the help and support she gave us. She and Dad could have chosen any number of vacation destinations, but every year they spent their vacations with each of us. And we all enjoyed that! She has a keen interest in each person from the oldest child to the youngest great-grandchild.  Our family delighted in the delicious meals Mom prepared—ham balls, chicken and biscuits, and scalloped potatoes and ham.  When we would ask for a recipe, she would say, “Oh, I don’t know.  I just make it!”

As a farmer’s wife and as a master gardener, Mom taught us to see the beauty around us and to not take it for granted—billowy white clouds in a bright blue sky, the silhouette of barren trees in the winter, the sight of a beautiful flower garden, and the sound of birds singing in the trees. I think we are all more aware of the precious resources we have on this Earth and the need to protect them for having been raised on the farm. 

Mom modeled for us the importance of having faith and trust in God. We saw this demonstrated most exquisitely through Dad’s illness. Her support and care for him is something that we shall never forget. Despite the adversities, we only saw that mom appreciated each hour given to her and Dad. Those years and those trials have left an indelible mark on us and taught us how to love unselfishly and to trust implicitly in God’s grace and provisions. So, on this Mother’s Day, we thank you for your encouragement and support and unconditional love.  

We couldn’t end this without saying, “GO HAWKS!”

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