Although my mother passed away over 15 years ago, I still think about her every day. And with Mother’s Day approaching I think about all the special things she used to do. After she retired, she began to write in a Grandmother’s Keepsake Journal that she eventually gave to my son. It was filled with stories she wanted to share. There was a page for her likes and dislikes, everything from colors to foods. There were pages about her friends as a child and as an adult; her school years; her various jobs; her travels. And what I found most revealing were her thoughts on politics and religion.
A few years before she died, she purchased a Mother’s Keepsake Journal for me. I must confess that I have not been very diligent about completing mine, and I actually misplaced it for some time. But recently I discovered it in my storage room with a number of books I had boxed up many years ago when I moved into my current house. It holds lots of blank pages, but one completed page shares a story from my year in Kindergarten. This page asked me to describe my first memorable accomplishment.
I had not yet turned five when I started Kindergarten at Boggs Avenue Elementary School in Mt. Washington. Kindergarten in those days was more about socialization and constructive play than educational courses. So every day we sang, played, and did art projects. I really liked to play; I liked to sing; but my talents waned when it came to art projects.
One day, however, the teacher gave us a mound of clay to mold and ask us to try to make an animal. I tried and tried and nothing seemed to happen. My clay continued to look like a mound to me. Then suddenly the teacher came over, picked it up, turned to the class and said, “Look! Isn’t this wonderful. Mary Grace made a cow.” Really? It didn’t look much like a cow to me. That certainly was not my plan. But young as I was I knew not to contradict my elders, especially when they were saying good things…and especially when it was all about me. So I painted my cow and let it dry and in a few days I took it home.
I gave it to my mother, and I related the story of how the cow came to be. With a smile on her face she said to me, “That’s life. Sometime successes come by accident. The important thing is to just be; show up; and keep trying. And you will find that sometimes you are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.” My mother was so wise.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wise and wonderful moms we know.