26 Sep Starting with Breakfast
Mom had a special way of making a task seem less daunting when I was growing up. Her deportment was kindness, shown through soft and encouraging words, through quiet acts of service, and through her genuine belief in our ability to do hard things. Every Saturday was a work day on our small farm. Dad would come down the hall between our bedrooms singing, “It’s nice to get up in the morning,” delighted to have the help of his eight children to weed the gardens, pick up trash, fix fences, water the orchards, prune trees, pick fruit and vegetables, and do many other things that were needed to help sustain our family. But my siblings and I often dreaded the hours of work ahead and longed to read a book or play in the tree house instead. To lighten the load physically, Mom made dozens of delicious Danish pancakes and sliced a huge bowl of fresh fruit for breakfast each Saturday morning, before we went out to work. This delicious breakfast, graciously made by her week after week for hundreds of Saturdays, lifted my spirits and made the work ahead seem less daunting. With a hug and a smile she would send us out the door with full, happy stomachs, often looking forward to her homemade scones filled with tuna and cheese, and others rolled in cinnamon sugar, for lunch. As a mother now, I can hardly fathom all the time she must have spent in preparing all that food and cleaning up after those big meals while we worked.
Mom also lightened my load emotionally. When I came in the house from the bus after a long day at school with many hours of homework ahead, the feeling of reassurance I received from her warm hug, happy greeting, and a thick slice of hot buttered bread was almost tangible. She would regularly stay up late to help me study for a test or give me a back rub, murmuring quiet words of reassurance, as I finished a school paper or project. Her quiet presence had a way of lifting the tension and lightening my burden. Mom’s simple, kind acts of love bound me to her, deepening my sense of security and validation.
Even now as an adult who is facing much larger and challenging events in life, I benefit from Mother’s calm, reassuring presence. As my seven siblings and I recently surrounded Dad’s hospital bed to say goodbye, Mother’s reassurances to Dad that it was OK to move on, that she and all of us would be just fine, gave each of us the peace we would need to move forward in the days and years ahead without his wisdom and guidance. Our lives will always be better because of what she alone could give.
Today’s post and image are contributed by Seeing the Everyday magazine. Kathryn Ward’s story was first published in Seeing the Everyday no. 26. For more information, go to seeingtheeveryday.com.