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Mothers love us anyway (05/08/2005)
By Janet Lewis Burns

I didn't know enough to appreciate all Mom did as I was living out youthful beginnings. Somewhere between "I do" and "now what!?" I understood.

With no electronic marvels, our two-story home on Fremont Street was kept spick and span. In response to Mom (and Dad's) old-home good cooking, "come and get it!" could be heard from way down the block.

I wonder now how Mother mustered the energy it took to fill seven lines with wet-heavy laundry, hoisted up in wicker baskets from our sun-deprived, cement basement, where a deluxe model wringer washer hummed away, splashing homemade soap scents into stale, dank concrete pores.

Pondering the virtues of motherhood, through the writings of a nurturer to the masses and downtrodden, Mother Teresa has been a difficult act to follow. In her wisdom, and possibly from her frustrations with a greedy, apathetic world, she once wrote...

"People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; It was never between you and them anyway."

Thanks, Kathy and Mary Ann, for that poem!

Way back in the forties and fifties I didn't understand how fortunate I was. Generations were isolated from a cold, cruel world in little Lewiston, southeast Minnesota, secure and surrounded by the most plush and fertile countryside and woodlands, in the melting pot of the moralistic hard-working Midwest. Wow!

As youngsters, most dream of what they're going to be when they grow up. Often outlandish, expectations are praiseworthy only for their ambitious invention. It's also the propensity of youth to whine and to beg for things we think we want more than anything in the whole world.

Often a comfortable carefree and contented youth is sacrificed to a constant harping on what we don't have, or what cousin Ruth or friend Tommy got to do and we didn't. Greener grass can be abundant with cow pies. Fences have their purpose.

Teens can develop the sour attitude that "we can't wait to get out of this hick town, to land somewhere exciting." "I can make it big in the city! Just give me my inheritance and I'm outa here!"

Rebellious, wayward teens are prey for big city wheeler-dealers. In the end, it's often Mom and Dad to the rescue (if you've survived).

If only I had the opportunity now, in my seasoning, to make up for the fussing and moaning I directed at my hard-working mom.

How fortunate for me that my biggest concerns were which outfit to wear with my new oxfords, dust balls under the bed, and whose turn it was to wash dishes.

I regret that I neglected to apologize for sassing Mother when she imposed punishment for bad behavior, and for being totally unreasonable about clothes and the latest trend in jewelry I just had to have, which she couldn't afford to buy.

Mother Teresa spoke the compelling words that she and untold mothers live-out and have lived down through the ages. The soft-spoken, unwavering strength of motherhood is a universal bond.

The spirit of Mother's Day alights in the hearts of all of God's children.

Love is all you need. 


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