I actually wrote this post on Mother's Day in 2009. I find myself feeling precisely the same two years later...
My boys will soon receive the annual Mother’s Day Lecture. It is a lesson that is never forgone around the Knox household. It generally includes the same key points: wear nice clothes to church, sit with your mother in the worship assembly, be home for lunch, no crude discussion at the table, and above all….be on your best behavior for the day. They always take it well, and generally go above the call of duty to honor their mother.
This year the boys will join me in putting on a roast and all of the trimmings for the annual Mother’s Day meal. Jan will be banished from the kitchen, and we will even do the clean up job. After the counter is finally wiped down, the boys will go outside to play basketball, and I will sit down for just a few moments of quiet reflection regarding my own mother.
My mother was a very traditional Southern lady. I am convinced she wrote the book on proper etiquette. She was very aware of the social graces, and was quick to point it out when others violated such rules. I nearly cried when I saw Driving Miss Daisy. My mother tracked one generation behind the memorable character that Jessica Tandy so effectively portrayed, but there are some striking similarities in personality and attitude.
My mother’s name was Louise. I found out as an adult that her real name was Emma. She thought the name Emma was hopelessly out of date, so she went by her middle name. She would be shocked today to see so many 4 year old and 10 year old Emma’s running around everywhere. My friends fondly referred to her as “Weezy.”
I remember growing up with strict rules that accompanied the call to Southern etiquette. When I was in trouble at school, she always sided with the teacher, much my chagrin. She fried homemade chicken strips for my friends and me long before Chicken Express hit the scene. I have tried to replicate her recipe on an occasion or two, but have long since given up. She opened our home to all of my friends and treated them like they were her own. As recently as this year, several of my friends from high school have commented on her obvious love for them.
I watched my mother grieve when my father died in 1978. She was a widow at age 50. She was never the same after that pivotal event in the life of our family.
She continued to play tennis several times a week, even after she turned 60. She adored her grandchildren. But life was never the same for her… She was a very traditional lady, whose world revolved around her husband and children.
My mother was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer when I was 29 years old. Our oldest son was two at the time. Jan found out that she was expecting our second son weeks before she died. She lived for 90 days after the diagnosis. One day before her 64th birthday, she passed from this life with all of us at her side. That was October 30th, 1991.
My mother has been gone for almost 18 years now, but I will still sit in quiet reflection on this Mother’s Day, because I still miss my mother.