a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: The Challenge of Mothers' Day

Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Challenge of Mothers' Day

SUMMARY: My mom. Missing her.

I discovered recently that there are different Mothers Days depending on where you live. In the U.S., it was two weeks ago. In the UK, it's today.

Interestingly, a friend just posted on her blog some Mom Musings. Much of what she muses about matches my Mom's situation. 

My family contained 5 kids and Mom and Dad. And the dog. Dad worked "at work" (not at home); Mom stayed home. It was a full-time job. Probably more than full-time. At some point in my teens, I had to start doing my own laundry, sometimes. It was a mystery to me at first, but really it was one of the simplest chores I probably had to do then. I'm sure I resented it.

Mom in her 50s, peeling apples and prepping them for apple pie or some other apple dish.
On the back deck. (note the sugar/flour/spices mixture in the measuring cup.)

So she did all that Laundry. Making sure we had meals 3 times a day (if it were a school day and we didn't like the cafeteria offerings, she might make us sandwiches; my favorite was cream cheese and jelly), vacuuming, dusting, more laundry, always in Mom mode for her kids--

My dad's photo of her. Probably in her 40s. 

Even when we camped, Mom cooked. Yosemite, early 1960s.
(Dad would do the tent, carry things, find firewood and chop it up--like that.
At least, that's how I remember it. Reality says that they probably 
helped each other.) (Dad's photo)

Oh. Plus cranking out all those babies. Plus Diapers. Sleepless nights. Breast feeding.
Starting in her 20s.

Nine years later...#5.

So I don't know how she managed to have time for gardening. But she made that time for herself.  Earliest I remember was at the place we lived when I was in 1st/2nd grade, the first house that my parents actually owned. She let me plant some seeds, too, and they grew. I was hooked. At the next couple of houses, she grew food, too.  This is how we learned that dogs figured out that cornstalks held ears of corn--and how to get at them.

Mom in her 30s, at that first house with part of her garden! (Dad's photo)
The house was new, so bare dirt ruled when we arrived.

(Oh--and she always had other activities, too! A Girl Scout almost her entire life,
she served as troop leader for two or three years, as well. And Environmental Volunteers.
And League of Women Voters. And more.)

I have no photos of her doing any of those things except I think one photo of her standing at the kitchen sink (*found some others in Dad's photos just now* ... and a few more of mine*). All those everyday things that it never occurred to me to photograph until much later in life. OK, film and processing were expensive, but if I had had any tiny thought about reminiscing about NORMAL life, not just vacations and activities, I'd have taken so many more.

Mom in her 70s. She never wanted to lick the beaters herself, 
so would offer to anyone around, particularly her kids.
She didn't have much of a sweet tooth. Dad did.

I gradually started taking more, the older I got. But by the time I was really into it, Dad had retired, she was mostly arthritis-ridden, and Dad had started doing most of the household tasks (cooking (as little as he could get away with, not always the healthiest, which Mom had made a priority), cleaning, laundry). He mowed the lawn and trimmed the shrubs and trees and really took good care of the yard until we finally convinced him to hire a mow-and-blow team in his 80s.

Mom was the reason we had flowers to stand in front of
for all the important school photos.

[Poor Dad, I just thought about this now: Thought he was retired, but nooooo--took over Mom's full-time job. At least there were no kids living at home any more.]

Dad at 70. 

But yard wasn't the same thing as garden.  Mom still tried to keep up in one small plot out front, probably with Dad's help, or some of us kids. She loved flowers and birds. I learned so much about all those things from her. Someone hung a hummingbird feeder in front of their living room window, where she could see it from her favorite chair. And the hummers gladly came.

I miss all of that. I miss her. And Dad.

Dad in the kitchen

Mom in the kitchen


  1. These pictures that we took, or found, are so precious. I, like you, wish I had taken more...I had a little camera too, and have a small photo album filled with photos taken when was 9 or 10. Not one of mom or dad are in there. It's filled with blurry pictures of me, our pets, trees, flowers, stuff a 10 year old finds photogenic. Wasnt even thinking of keeping memories of our regular life. I wonder, with cell phone pictures that people take today, if they will still have access to those 60 years from now?

    1. I suspect that, for most people, most photos on photos are throw-away. Some people might be very good at pruning down things that they don't consider keepsakes--but what will happen when they die? What will their kids or siblings or parents or grandkids have? [OK, that was a downer-- but, you know--]

      Yes, I have so many iffy photos of friends and things I don't even know why I took photos of.