Friday, 09 May 2014 23:02

My Mother Was No Angel

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Family Storytelling, Mother's Day, Angel MotherJust because its Mother's Day, I'm not going to pretend my mom was perfect.  Because seriously, she was no angel.

She would not deny that it took an occasional rampage to get us to clean the house and do our chores. She would be the first to admit she had a temper – and on occasion, when she lost it, if you were close by you just might hear a mild swear word or two. There were times she beat herself up for being too strict, like when she removed the Coke-flavored candy bottle caps before I could eat them, because caffeine wasn't good for me. And she agonized at times about being too lenient, like when I called to stay over night at a friends and she knew she should have insisted that I get my hiney home and sleep in my own bed. Sometimes dinner consisted of frozen fish sticks or cottage cheese with tomatoes and toast. There were times I came home from school and she wasn't “dressed” for the day because she had spent the day crying about something, or someone, that was breaking her heart.


My mom was one of my biggest fans, but sometimes that meant an honest critique was in order. My mom loved me but she didn't pretend behavior that was beneath me or the standards she taught me, was acceptable, especially in her presence. Nope, my mom wasn't perfect – but in her imperfection she taught me it was ok that I wasn't perfect either.


I remember one time, after my sweet grandma Helen passed away, I was raving about her to someone. As though she had been perfect. Later that day, my mom pulled me aside and gently explained that sometimes, after people have passed away, we have a tendency to bury their sins with them. We somehow have a tendency to perfect the dead. “But,” she said, “it would be good for you to remember, honey, that Grandma Helen wasn't perfect. Love her. Cherish her memory. But don't put that pressure on yourself. Grandma was a remarkable woman, but she was no angel.”


Family Storytelling, Mother's Day, Family PictureSo Mom, in honor of your memory, I won't pretend you were perfect, but I will say...


It was YOU who...


  • curled my hair with bobby pins so I would feel pretty the next day.
  • called me “sunshine” and made me feel I brightened your world.
  • said I had pretty lips and to make sure nice things always come out of them.
  • shared story after story of my ancestors, breathing life into pedigree charts and old black and white photos.
  • got up early to make me a warm breakfast, nearly every school day as I remember it.
  • read to me, and with me, from the holy scriptures.
  • took me, and didn't just send me, to church on Sunday.
  • somehow made it to every performance, recital and game.
  • loved my dad.
  • made birthdays special.
  • drove me all over town to collect the most girl scout cookie sales.
  • told me to get off the phone and spend time with my family. Too many are gone, thank you for insisting that I build memories with them.
  • let me decorate my room however I wanted, and even keep a drawer filled with childhood treasures I couldn't part with.
  • helped me face change, even when its devastating.
  • showed me how to love my daughter- and son-in-law as if they were my own.
  • got dressed up and took me to the ballet.
  • taught me although I'm no angel, I'm ok.


Mom, now that you are an angel – I hope heaven celebrates Mother's Day and you know how much you are loved and missed by your sunshine girl.


With your own list, let your mom know how much you appreciate her efforts - even when they weren't perfect.  #ItWasMom that loved you like only a mother can.  This video is a beautiful tribute to mothers everywhere.  

Last modified on Thursday, 29 May 2014 18:29
Carol Rice

I grew up in a home rich with family heritage. My mom loved genealogy and knew how to breathe life into dusty documents and color to faded black and white photos - my mom told me stories.

As a grown woman with five children of my own, I've tried to do the same. For years I did it through scrapbooking. But it didn't take long to realize that it wasn't my artistic skills my children really cared about. They never stopped on a page and said, "Mom, you matched that paper to my shirt - perfectly!" Nope. What they did say as they leaned across my lap, pointing at photos is, "Tell me the story!" "Tell me mom about the day I was born... Tell me mom about the day I cried when everyone sang me happy birthday... Tell me mom about my grandma and her garden..."

Don't worry if you haven't done it forever, just start today. The consistency and cumulative effect of one good question - just sharing one story a day, adds up.

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