By Lynn Moncus: Comments from the Canyon
Mother’s Day is one of the most special days of the year because it gives us a chance to honor one of the most special people in our lives. Even though some of us have been without our mothers for many years we still enjoy memories of the times that were and pause to honor them on Sunday.
Some who no longer have their mothers think of Mother’s Day as a sad day and spend the day mourning. Others of us spend the day remembering the good times and the celebrations we had. We never quit missing our mothers, but we know how privileged we were to have them for as long as we did and feel comfortable recalling the days of our youth during which they played such a major role in helping us to grow, to learn, and to move forward. Their love protected us and made us want to please them and later to thank them for all they did.
Mother was the center of my universe in those canyons of home because she was my constant, and often only, companion. Despite the many chores she had to do, she found time to read to me, to tell me stories, to take walks, and to teach me. We were often the only ones in that little house during much of the day, and she began talking to me as a friend as well as a daughter long before I had much idea about what she was saying. Her laughter cheered me throughout my childhood and until her death. She taught me to sing along with her and had both of us reciting nursery rhymes from the time I could talk.
She could always create some way to keep me entertained in the event I should become restless. When she needed to go about her work, she would seat me at the kitchen table, hand me a pencil and paper, and tell me trace some of the simple words she had been teaching me. That would occupy me until she finished whatever she was doing, and then, she would say we needed to carry some water from the spring or to find some kindling for the stove.
During warm days, she would try to finish her housework early so we could take a bread and butter sandwich to the pebble-covered bench of land behind the corrals. We would eat our treat and then begin to play with the pebbles, usually trying to see who could find the prettiest ones. On even more special occasions, we would take our sandwiches to a very large cave about a quarter of a mile from the house and sit in the cool shade on the cool sand while looking at the clouds and just talking to each other. On really warm days, we might stay long enough for her to take a nap while I built sand castles. Napping simply was not my activity until I joined the over-the-hill gang, but Mother always took naps and relied on me to play quietly while she slept for a few minutes. I liked to watch her sleep and would take time to shoo away flies that might decide to pester her. She would awaken, and we would return to the house so she could begin cooking the evening meal.
In our later years, we looked so much alike that many people thought we were sisters, and even my students would become confused on occasion and call her Miss Moncus. We enjoyed those years because we could exchange clothes and had many of the same interests. We both read voraciously from those early days and continued to talk about books as we aged.
Such pleasant memories will be passing through my mind Sunday, and many of you will be having similar experiences. Let’s wish all mothers a very happy Mother’s Day , and let’s remember just how privileged we are.