Monday, August 26, 2019

Thoughts on Mother and mothering

Sunday, August 25, was the 85th anniversary of my parents’ wedding. They died in 2000 and 2002, having celebrated together 65 years during the previous August wedding of my sister in 1999.  My dad wasn’t one to keep a diary, but he did jot things down in a little spiral bound notebook later in life, and he noted that on their anniversary in 2000 he took Mother’s ashes on a ride in the country on their 66th.  He never tired of driving the country roads even though he had done that most of his life to earn a living. After they’d both retired, he and Mom would sometimes take Sunday drives around Ogle and Lee counties just recalling the past, or enjoying the changes of seasons, or how the crops were doing, or which farms were being kept up. In fact, even when I was a child, Sunday afternoon “entertainment” might be driving to Iowa to look around. That certainly wouldn't have been my choice with 4 children in the car.
I’d also been thinking about Mom because a very old memory had popped to the surface during one of our Lakeside 2019 classes by Chef Stacy.  It was on home made pasta.  We didn’t eat a lot of pasta when I was growing up—our spaghetti came out of a can and would be for lunch--never dinner. I didn’t learn to appreciate pasta until meeting Bob’s mother, who made fabulous homemade spaghetti, with tossed salad and garlic bread.   But Mom was also trying out new things, and she must have seen an article on making noodles, because we went through a phase when we lived in Forreston of her testing out this new skill.  I remember watching her make it—the recipe is very simple, just flour, water and eggs.  She did her best, but the beef roast and noodles dish was usually a gooey mess.  Dad might have said something about it, and she dropped that experiment forever to disappear from her menus.  Stacy made it look so easy, I may try it, and dedicate the gooey mess to Mom’s memory.

In today’s meditation I read a letter from Concepcion Cabrera de Armida to her son Pancho (nickname for Francisco).  She died in 1937, and was a wife, mother, and writer in Mexico.  She apparently wrote about 65,000 of these little messages.  It reminds me a lot of what my mother would say to her children.
    • Avoid the least quarrel and do not stop at any sacrifice to have peace in your home.
    • It is better to bend than to break.
    • With prudence, education and certain common sense, many troubles can be avoided.
    • Oh, my son! Never forget that everything you are, all that you have and the happiness you now enjoy, you owe to the good Jesus who has loved you with such tenderness! From how many dangers he has delivered you!
    • Be grateful, my son: recognize with gratitude the fatherly tenderness of God over you and demonstrate your gratitude by your actions, and never be ashamed of being a good Christian.
    • Be dignified with everyone but never haughty.
    • Keep on being honest under every circumstance.
    • Do not soil your soul with business deals that extort your fellowmen.
    • May your soul be always clean—poverty does not soil or shame one—and you will be happy.
    • May your home, dear Pancho, be a model of Christian homes where the Lord reigns and a worldly atmosphere does not enter; where the peace and happiness that are born from the accomplishment of one’s duty, be settled there.
    • Never spend more than you have, not even all that you earn; thrift helps marriages avoid a lot of trouble.
    • But do not be avaricious; aim for a happy medium maintaining a decent and fitting social standing, not living in luxury, even if you become rich.
    • Let the poor be considered one of your ordinary expenses, and God will not fail you.
    • Don’t limit your piety to exterior observance but rather practice the virtues, being patient in adversity, resigned to the adverse events of life, because if we receive from the Lord so many goods, why should we not also receive the sufferings he desires to send us? (Magnificat, vol. 21, no. 6 p. 387-388.)

1 comment:

Debbie V. said...

I enjoy reading your memories of your parents. I have mine as well.
"Let the poor be considered one of your ordinary expenses, and God will not fail you" - this is interesting. I"m not sure I understand God and I don't like doing things for a reward, but the first part of it makes total sense.