While selecting quotes for That Wonderful Thing Called Mother, I came across one from Pam Brown that I instantly knew belonged on this page instead. “You never realize how much your mother loves you till you explore the attic and find every letter you ever sent her, every finger painting, clay pot, bead necklace, Easter chicken, cardboard Santa Claus, paper-lace Mother’s Day card, and school report since day one.”
That’s my own dear mom to a T! She still has enough of my grade school art to fill the Louvre and enough of the other stuff to keep the entire staff of the Smithsonian Institute busy cataloging for a long, long time. All I could show you from my childhood is a few small scars, but she has carefully preserved something from practically every day. Most of it is now rather embarrassing to me, but still priceless to her. Mom’s advancing in years and is now legally blind, so she can’t actually see any of it, but there it all sits—boxes and boxes and boxes of it! If Keith doesn’t want any of these treasures, she reasons, surely his children or grandchildren will. When she moved houses a few years ago, you can’t imagine how relieved I was that one of my strong young sons was there to do the heavy lifting instead of me.
The school reports? None were very impressive, but Mom always found something to praise. And she was like that about everything. No matter how many times I was ready to give up on myself, she never did. Her unswerving love and faith were the making of me. I’d like to say with George Washington, Marc Chagall, Stevie Wonder, and Ganeshan Venkatarman (all of whom are quoted in That Wonderful Thing Called Mother), and countless others from every nation and generation, “Thanks, Mom! I love you too!”