I heart Mom
This Mother’s Day weekend, Americans will spend nearly $21 billion on their moms. I can’t think of anyone who deserves the showering of gifts more.
Especially my mom.
With more than 85 million mothers in the U.S. as cause for celebration on Sunday, many of us might say we have the best one in the world. I just said it. And I’ll say it many more times in my lifetime.
If you’ve ever met my mom, my lack of objectivity is understandable.
From the first moments our mothers hold us in their arms, many of us share that feeling of unconditional love all our lives. Most mothers will do about anything for their children, no matter what kids do or say — although adolescence pushes boundaries beyond some comprehensible limits. I know my mom has always been selfless when it came to her children’s well-being. She has always wanted us to be safe and happy. Like a lot of moms out there, she’s the least selfish person I know.
It’s part of what makes her the world’s greatest.
I know my mom learned about motherhood from a long line of strong women. Her mother, and her mother before her, along with my grandfather’s mom, made lifelong sacrifices that have been passed down through the generations. They have always been an inspiration to me.
I’m hoping their stories won’t be forgotten.
My mom’s mother, Betty, came to Indianapolis in the 1940s as a young woman who dreamed of making a new, exciting life in a big city. She grew up in a teeny farm town in Illinois called Altamont, as one of six kids in a German family. My grandmother was born on May 7, 1925, in the years preceding the Great Depression, which hit their large family hard in her childhood.
There were many mouths to feed, and times were not easy.
After coming to Indy after high school pre-WWII, she worked at Indiana Bell Telephone Company (now AT&T). During the war, when supplies were low, she would draw black lines up the back of her stockings to emulate the more expensive styles of that day. My grandmother’s parents instilled in her a strong German work ethic and love of family. From what I remember about her — she lost a short, year-long battle to cancer when I was only 6 — my Grandma Betty was a patient woman with a dry wit who loved her two daughters and two grandchildren with all her being.
I know where my mom gets it.
My maternal great-grandmother, Ruth Wilson, was as tough as they get. She was a tiny woman, probably standing about 5 feet 3 inches. She raised six children, two of whom were twins, during the hard times of the past that spanned the Great Depression and the last world war. I recall the huge family dinners she would make in the little Altamont kitchen of the small farm house with a garden out back and a shed we would play in as kids. We could entertain ourselves outside in the backyard for hours without needing our parents to watch our every move.
Those were the good old days.
The large Formica kitchen table the Wilson family gathered around as they drank black coffee and cracked funny jokes took up most of the room. On holidays, Ruth, who we all referred to as Grandma Wilson, made homemade fried chicken dinners using lard from a can under the sink for upwards of 20 people at a time. I can still remember the butter melting on top of the steaming-hot mashed potatoes and her homemade gravy to dump on top.
And now I’m hungry.
Back then, all the men went through the food line first, then the kids, followed by the women. I think my Grandma Wilson always held back and made sure everyone was fed first before making her plate. She was an amazing cook, skilled gardener and as selfless as they come. She was devastated when she had to bury her oldest child and daughter, my Grandma Betty. I remember being at the funeral and her softly kissing my grandma’s forehead goodbye before the casket was closed. She said no mother should have to bury a child, no matter what their age. Grandma Wilson would have been in her 70s at the time.
Unconditional love like hers never dies.
April E. Clark wishes all the moms of the world, especially her own, a happy Mother’s Day. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Questlove’s directorial debut, the documentary “Summer of Soul” brings to vivid life the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival with previously unseen footage of Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly and the Family Stone and others. Aspen Film and Jazz Aspen Snowmass will host a drive-in preview on Sunday.