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My mother always took her job as a mom seriously (7 children it was a job). I can remember before I was old enough to go to school, when sometimes in the morning she would read stories or even poems to me after my older siblings had left for school. She also invented clever ways of teaching things too, like a cardboard template shaped like a foot that she put shoe laces in to teach me how to tie my shoes. I learned almost instantly using that cardboard foot! She was very frugal too, she had to be. I always told people we weren’t poor we just didn’t have money! So, she would save parts of packages that would normally get thrown away for us kids to use to make rainy day projects. One of my favorites was a covered wagon, about 10 or 12 inches long. It actually worked and looked great, plus it was made from things that would have just been thrown away!

I remember one thing I could never understand was my mother’s “radar” and I used to wonder if all mothers had it, or was mine unique? An example of it is when I was about 5 years old I started getting tonsilitis. Many times I would wake up in the night with a very sore throat so I would walk into my parents bedroom, go around to my mothers side of the bed and without even touching her or making a sound, she would open her eyes! But….even a mothers love couldn’t heal those tonsils…..and I soon had to have my tonsils and adenoids removed.

In the early 1960’s a child’s hospital stay was much different than it is today…..I was to be admitted the day before the surgery and I would be in for about 3 days. Visting hours (even for family members) were just a few hours during the day and a few hours in the evening. Plus parents were not allowed to stay in the room overnight…..BUT…..all of this sounded ok to me because my parents told me that if I was “good and brave”, I could have any toy I wanted from the store (Nauman’s General, my fathers store). Well, right away I had my father take a Rogers Gun that shot real plastic bullets off the shelf and put it in the backroom (just to be sure no one would buy it before I got home). That gun was as good as mine! Because I had already determined to be “good and brave” no matter how much it was going to hurt…..

The night in the hospital alone before surgery was uneventful, in fact I don’t remember anything about it…..I just kept thinking how close I was to getting that Roy Rogers Toy Gun! The hospital was an hour away from home, over back roads, big hills and empty spaces. Yet, my mother surprised me by being there before I went in for the 6:00 am surgery. I can remember waking up in severe pain after the surgery. I was in a big room full of people who were moaning and groaning and crying out in pain. I had blood in my mouth, blood on my pillow and it felt like someone had cut my throat. It hurt so bad I couldn’t stop the tears from trickling out of the corners of my eyes, but I had to remain in control because I had to be “good and brave” to get that Roy Rogers Toy Gun.

When they wheeled me to my room I saw my mother, she had been waiting the whole time. She looked like she had been crying and I wondered why? But I had to stay focused on not crying “be good and brave” so I just laid there staring up at the ceiling with tears leaking out the corners of my eyes. I couldn’t talk after surgery and I couldn’t spell many words yet, so some sort of sign or body language was all I had. The nurse would give me a spoonful-just a spoonful of ginger ale every 15 minutes and I was so thirsty! After watching me for awhile, my mother came over to me and said “it’s ok if you cry”. I shook my head no, used hand gestures holding that toy gun. She said “just because you cry doesn’t mean you won’t get your toy, you’ve already earned it”. Instantly my stomach and chest started heaving and bouncing up and down as I started sobbing…..and she hugged me…..and just that quick, she had her little boy back…..A Mother’s Perception….. A Mother’s Wisdom….. A Mother’s Love…..

I’m sure many of us when we take time to reflect as I just did, would love to give some kind of award or special recognition of some kind to our mothers. But most mothers are probably not looking for special recognition of any kind….. BUT…..If you still have your mother, I’m pretty sure she would receive fulfillment from JUST FOUR WORDS….. MOM I LOVE YOU.

Till Next Time…..

One response to “JUST FOUR WORDS”

  1. Karen Wightman Avatar
    Karen Wightman

    Oh, Steve, I love this story! And you knew that God was with you… It reminds me of the little boy in the movie “The Christmas Story” with the Red Rider BB gun! Things are so different now… kids go home in a few hours or less, and blood loss is less than a teaspoon… I am glad Mom made it over for your surgery – and I’m glad parents can stay with their kids all of the time!

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