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  • Columns | "A Balloon In Cactus"

    Mother

    by Maggie Van Ostrand
    Maggie Van Ostrand

    A beautiful woman is queen of every room she enters. Conversation hushes, people turn to look, and the center of attention falls upon her. My mother was not like that. She was ordinary, quiet, and far more comfortable in a flowered print apron than in a little black dress. Yet, to us, she was the most beautiful woman in the world.

    She was the queen of our house, could answer every question, and was a star in my father's eyes. How she managed such excellent meals on the shoestring budget she allowed herself is beyond me. Sure we had a lot of spaghetti, but kids love spaghetti and so did our dad. Mom was the most knowledgeable person in all things because she read every newspaper published in New York and, in those days, there were an awesome lot of them. She knew baseball stats all the way back to the beginning of the sport, and what prizefighter knocked out what other fighter and the year he did it in. She knew all the politicians from local to national, current and historical, and every bit of local and international news. She was an avid reader of books, made most of our clothes, and could knit and crochet with the best of them. Dad used to boast that when he wore a pair of socks she had darned, he couldn't even feel the stitches. She kept the family checkbook balanced and did the tax returns. And still, she managed to save enough to send small sums to her favorite charities and even enough to buy us pretty Easter outfits.

    Mom even managed to hide the eyes she had in the back of her head, the ones she never tired of warning us about. Hindsight indicates that we took for granted a clean house, delicious meals, and nothing to worry about (as long as we passed all our grades). Until we became moms ourselves, we never realized the balancing act it took to pay the bills, run a smooth house, and not expect any credit, just results. There should be a Nobel Prize for Motherhood.

    Even though a beautiful woman can conquer a roomful of strangers, it takes a mother to conquer a family full of life.


    ©
    Maggie Van Ostrand,May 5, 2012 column
    More "A Balloon In Cactus"

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