Friday, April 13, 2012


Anyone who even suggests that a full time wife and mother doesn't "work". 

This one is for Mom, watching over me from above, and my friend Auntie J , watching over her own little ones.

My Mom quit her job as Deputy Sheriff  to take on two kids out of foster care. We came with scars and  fears and needs and it WAS a full time job. I was just a baby, but Dad said if anyone touched me I'd scream.  Loads of fun, I imagine.  My older brother would rock in his crib, hitting his head gently but repeatedly on the frame.  Silent demons.  They didn't falter. They didn't fuss, They watched us carefully, pacing the room each night in that rhythm that is not a clock, but is the beat of a heart, of love. The love was expressed gently and often and it was not long before we were simply giggly, laughing children, with no memories of those early days, of anything that came before that wonderful, loving woman and our Dad.

She grew up in the depression.  Her Dad was killed in a logging accident when she was a teen. There was no insurance policy, only her own Mom working to support them all.  She graduated college with a degree in criminal justice in an age when women rarely did so.  She worked and supported her family until my Dad came back from WWII and they married, moving her widowed mother in with them.  Their first child died in infancy and after that, there was to be no more pregnancies. So they put in to be foster parents or to adopt.  I don't think they realized how much work that would be. Being a Mom at an age when her friends were having grand babies, to babies who came with built in burdens, had to be hardest job she probably ever had.  It's a job many "professionals" could not do well

 It doesn't matter if you have money or not.  When the kids try and dye the family cat black for Halloween with your Miss Clairol, when someone wakes op crying with a nightmare or someone runs home with a report from school with a smiley sticker to tell you all the details when all you wanted to do was sit and have 10 whole minutes to yourself in the entire day, you have worked. 

It's a labor of love, but it IS a full time job. The end product may not be a paycheck, it may not be awards on the wall or even tangible.

It's kids that grew up to serve their country, honor their flag and never take anything from a taxpayer that wasn't earned with blood, sweat and tears.  It's a man that adored the very ground you walked on for what you did, what you sacrificed, all the traits of your toil that you passed on to us. It's the family that grieves for your passing yet still sees something of the best parts of you, in all of us.

We lost her too young, but that will happen with a parent that's already middle aged when you come into their lives. But we wouldn't trade that for anything.  Because we gained so much from her, possessing, not our peers never ending obsession with time's dragging weight, but the fluidity of joy that is life constantly rediscovered, the bright comets of all those brief , shining moments that are never lost, only redefined.

At night, I put my badge in a drawer in my bedroom where it lays next to her ID and badge. I'm proud of my Mom for being the Deputy Sheriff.  I'm even more proud of her for just stepping away from a career that she loved to simply be my Mom.


  1. A corollary to this would be the man dumb enough to say the following within earshot of his wife:

    'Yeah, I have to stay home tonight and baby-sit the kids while my old lady goes out'...

    I only said this once, and was reminded in a quite blistering manner that I was present when said children were started, so techinically, you know...they were my kids, which does not make it makes it 'parenting'.

  2. Well, we already knew that he is more than just a little thick.

  3. We need to show more of this thought process from that side.
    The side that thinks you can raise a family by paying somebody to raise your kids. This is the same side that thinks they can fix all the problems they created. This is not fixable with the current level of idget in control.

    I like your way. Tell the nanny state to pound sand.

    I had my share of mothers. Four to be exact. Thank God the last one is up to job. I would be a wreck otherwise.



  4. I am always touched by your memories of Mom and Dad who were, by choice, your family. The placing of your badge next to Mom's...leaves me wordless.

    In '71, Bride and I married. I had 1, she had 3, plus 1 adopted. I adopted hers and she mine. We were seven.

    Within a year, we adopted the infant Ours. Ours...the one with whom I talked on the phone for 90 minutes just night, telling jokes and wondering just how much love and fun has been had in a unconventional family.

    For the next thirty years, God rained newcomers into our life. Infants and early teens and in- betweens. Didn't matter. All somehow brought new adventures and their special love into the midst of chaos.

    Eight of God's gifts were adopted. Five, who were with us a number of years, could not be adopted. Yet, they treat us as their Mom and Dad these many years later. It is a yippee moment when they call or visit and we recollect their growing years and pains. I was asked to be the father of the bride of one whom we never had the honor of adopting. It was humbling.

    I am 74 this year. Our youngest: thirteen. He and I sat around the imaginary campfire last night and toasted memories and dreams and goals on a stick.

    As I tell you this, I weep. I will not witness his triumphs, or be there to walk with him in woods when darkness catches him unaware because I have not yet covered that lesson.

    I struggle with this. And smile in the struggle. Few are so blessed.

  5. Best, deepest, heartfelt love expressed so far! There are only two unforgiving characters in a person's entire life: your mother and your dog.

  6. Best commentary on that particular jack a$$ statement I've seen after two days of lame stream media coverage.

  7. It amazes me that, when they really ought to be quiet and not draw attention, this drivel comes out and shows the world what they really are and what they really believe.

    My Mom was a "stay at home Mom" and I'm glad she was. I was home sick more than I was at school in the first grade and she drilled me in my spelling so that I didn't get held back. By the time I was in the third grade I was reading fourth and fifth grade material...

  8. My husband and I are both blessed to still have our mothers, and our Monkeys are blessed by this as well. I only wish I was half the mother to our kids and ours were to us...


  9. You are so fortunate to have had both a loving mother and loving stepmother. Not all of us had that experience.

  10. Though I came from a large & tumultuous Irish family, I have been told that though the Father is the Head of the household, the Mother is the Heart.

    Wife/Mother-hood is a job for Amateurs (not professionals as you've said earlier) and by that I mean it in the most Latin (Amator - "lover, devoted friend, devotee, enthusiastic pursuer of an objective,") sense.

    It saddens me greatly that the occupation is so badly maligned. After all - the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.

  11. I am in tears after reading that. I recently became a stay at home Dad, leaving behind a job I believed in and one that made me feel like I was changing things for the better. Not many of those around.
    I had open heart surgery last year and had to face up to the chance of not making it, in fact although it was successful, the risk of a life threatening problem is ever present. Bringing up my children is the hardest work I have ever done and also the most rewarding. I'm just trying to bring them up to be good people... easy at present but set to be more demanding as time progresses. Childcare was both too expensive and anaethema. I am daddy daycare now. Suits me just fine.

  12. greg - I have a photo by my bed of my brother R and I on Dad's lap in our jammies while he read us a story on Mom's bowling night. Good memories, and she enjoyed her night to have fun.

    Diesal smoke, I've had two, both fine women, I know how rare that is.

    gnholb - Your bunch is very very fortunate. Thank you for sharing that with us.

    Crusty - thank you. Now I have no Mom, but I still have my Dog, and someone who loves me, can't complain.

    Delayed Discrepency - thank you and welcome!

    Darren - thank you for visiting, and sharing your story. I'm thankful that your surgery helped, and you are around to care for those kids.

  13. A friend,who is a family counselor, told me of his 19 year old adopted son calling him.
    Colt is Las Vegas serving as a LDS missionary. Colt said, Dad I never realized how much work it is to be a parent until I lived here with missionary companion.
    His parents had 3 children, then adopted 10 more all with special emotional needs.
    Colt's mother has had health problems the entire time.
    I am proud to say I'm uncle Monte to all.

  14. B.
    Extremely timely and poignant.
    My sainted Mom had 4 children to raise and I could not imagine that not be considered "work", although she claims not to consider it as a job. I, certainly, could not do it.

  15. So very well said.

    "When the kids try and dye the family cat black for Halloween with your Miss Clairol"

    I have to ask how that worked out.

  16. gnholb is a stud.

    And Brigid, this simple little piece is now one of my very favorites. In life there are only givers, or takers.

    Like yourself, I like givers.

  17. Stephen - thank you. Like any human I've had my selfish moments, I try and keep those few and far between.

    Best to you and your family.

  18. The first time I said Wifey, who raises our crazy toddler full time, didn't work there was serious friction in our household. Then we talked about it.

    I sort of look at it in a different way. To me work is something that you do in exchange for goods or services. Along the same lines Wifey raising our son isn't "work". The discrepancy comes when folks associate work with anything difficult or hard.

    Wifey running around like a mad woman keeping up with our toddler, who may channel the personality of a central asian warlord, as well as taking care of the house and ensuring everybody is fed certainly is busy with challenging tasks.

  19. "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain."

    Y'think von Schiller was talking about Democrats?


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