My mother married my father in 1947 when she was twenty one;
a year later they had a baby girl and a year after that another.
Twenty three years old, two children and a husband to take care of,
in the next fifteen years she would have five more children.
A stay at home mother, like most of her contemporaries,
she did everything for us.
She cooked, sewed, baked, taught, scolded, played.
You name it, she did it. She made Halloween costumes,
Christmas cookies, Easter eggs, birthday cakes, picnics.
She even was a Cub Scout Den Mother.
When we still lived in Manhattan, she didn¹t need to know how to drive,
but when we moved to the suburbs of New Jersey, she learned.
Next came the teenage years.
My mother was strict. She had to be, what with seven children to raise,
three girls, three boys, and then another girl.
My mother told me once, that , Ginny, the youngest, was the only surprise.
Nice way to put it, I always thought.
Now there were parties and dances and SEX.¹
She weathered it all, taught us well, and expected a certain behavior from
For the most part we lived up to her high ideals.
She was the mom who baked cupcakes, who had extra kids playing in the
She was the mom who picked us up from dances and drove everyone home.
She kept a spotless house, had dinner on the table for my dad when he got
nursed us when we were sick, punished us when we needed punishing,
bandaged our cuts, helped with our homework, instilled in us a sense of
As we grew older, she taught us how to live as responsible adults,
our dreams, watched us falter, persevere, sometimes lose, sometimes win.
She supported our choices and was a fountain of knowledge and advice.
She wept and rejoiced at our weddings and at the birth of our children.
She cared for her husband, our father, through twenty years of awful illness.
She held his life in her hands and watched his struggle firsthand,
and cared for him, and loved him so fiercely, so well, so completely,
that I know he died as he lived, loving her.
She has shown us all along , by her fine example, how to live.
She is still teaching us every day, guiding her family with strength and a
always striving to think the best about people, and to care for those she
Her grandchildren thinks she¹s cool, and that¹s okay with her, because she
© Ellie Maziekien
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