If only they listen

I wrote this story for my Mom 25 years ago when my children were just toddlers. It’s simple and I was trying just a little too hard to sound like a real writer haha, but I still love the message. I gave the story to my Mom, and she hung it on her Christmas tree every year until she died. My Dad gave it back to me when she was gone. I must admit, my children have heard the words ‘I love you’ at least a million times. But my Mom made me understand that words are empty without action. Words aren’t enough. Anyone can talk the talk, but walking the talk is the real test of love. Happy Mother’s Day ❤

My mother never used a lot of empty words, especially when it came to matters of the heart. I never felt deprived until I became mature and experienced with lofty ideas blurring my vision. Shouldn’t a mother shower her offspring with wet kisses and cuddly hugs and the words I love you at least once every hour? My mother didn’t do that so I figured I was somehow shortchanged. Then it hit me, as clear as the sound of rain on the roof, and it comforted me like the rain does. My mother said I love you every day of my life. I just wasn’t listening.

Raising seven children would strain even the most generous of budgets. But my mother’s seven little  didn’t suffer. Not a bit. My mother prepared feasts which included the most beautiful desserts. Even when money was tight, and the meals were simple, she’d set the table and we’d all sit in proper fashion as if partaking of a feast. To this day, a homemade meal with my family makes me feel secure and sane.

I’m listening Mom; I’m listening …….. Kim, I love you.

I loved grocery day. The cupboards would suffocate from lack of room, and the fridge light would dim because of the stacks of food piled in front of it. Food for nine people requires a lot of space. My very favourite thing about grocery day was my school lunch the next day. Always, for a special treat, there would be a can of Vienna sausages (gross!), round and slippery and yummy! I’d gobble the first three very fast, as if I would never eat another bite. The next three I would eat a little slower in a more civilized fashion, and the last – I’d savour every bite. My friends would eye me hungrily as I finished off my feast with a Vachon flakie. I felt so proud and special. To this day, the sight of a can of Vienna sausages makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

I’m listening Mom; I’m listening …….. Kim, I love you. 

My Mother always knew how to decorate a magnificent Christmas tree. It was tall and regal and dignified …. and covered in shimmery, tacky icicles! At the time, I thought they were beautiful and, as they sparkled, I would dream of faraway places and knights in shining armour. I always thought my mother loved them too but, after we were all grown and gone, the icicles disappeared from my mother’s trees. I realized then that they weren’t for my Mom but for me and my sisters and brothers. This year, much to my own chagrin, I bought a pack of icicles for my children. There is only one rule: They must only put on one at a time. That was my mother’s rule, and she knew how to decorate a tree. The poor tree looks rejected, but my children think it’s beautiful as they sit and stare and dream as I once did. It makes me feel grateful and whole.

I’m listening Mom; I’m listening ….. Kim, I love you.

My Mother always made sure her little rugrats were clean and dressed to the nines. For every special occasion, she’d scrimp and save to make sure her four girls had a beautiful new dress. At many a Mother/Daughter church banquet would be a proud, flushed daughter looking resplendent in a new gown and a Mother, just as proud and resplendent, but in a gown that had seen many such occasions already. To this day, my little girl gets beautiful, special-occasion dresses. It makes me feel blessed and content.

I’m listening Mom; I’m listening ….. Kim, I love you.

Needless to say, now that I’m listening and hearing, I could go on and on. Though my Mother didn’t tell me that she loved me, she did something even greater and more sacrificial. My Mother showed me that she loved me every day of my life. And now, Mom, without hypocrisy or self-service of any kind, I can sincerely say I hope that I’m as good a mother to my children as you were to me.

So, my Mother, let me show you now, without lip service, how much I love you.

Are you listening?

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