It is late night, Ardis is driving. Today is Mother’s Day. I hope all you moms out there had a joyous day. I am convinced, from the personal experience of being a pain in my mother’s butt, that being a mother has to be the hardest job in the world. After all, a mother has to give birth to the “problem child” (that would be any child who is cantankerous, which includes most of us). Then she has to love that child. Forever. There’s no way out for the mother.
I look back over time and think of the vexation I put my mother through during my time with her. Of course, it is the same with any child. You know the drill—Little League baseball, Cub and Boy Scouts, athletics, band, and other school functions followed by more sacrifice. This is especially so, if the child goes to college and graduate school and beyond. Mom did all this and more for my siblings and me. From the perspective of this time, where I am now, I look back and don’t know how she did it.
She sacrificed for her four kids. We were not well off, but we were rich because of her. It is not until later, when you are paying your bills and develop a sense of what it takes to live, that true appreciation really sets in.
I think back on all I value. I thank God she would, on occasion, take my own belt to my bottom. Any mother doing the same today would probably be arrested; I am so appreciative of the times in which I lived, a time that mothers and fathers, along with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and neighbors could and were expected to punish a child who was out of line or did something wrong.
The years that included our childhood was a time in which, “Yes, ma’am,” “No, sir,” and titles such as “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, “Miss”, or “Dr.” were used and expected–especially from young people. This was particularly true for those of us growing up the South.
My mom did a great job instilling those traditional Southern qualities in us. Still, once and while, we would stray. And then we would hear that infamous line from her we never wished to hear: “Give me your belt.”
If one of my brothers or I heard that line, we knew we were in trouble. We would immediately start looking for a place to run to or hide. But it did little good. My mom always knew where to find us and she may have been small, but she was still larger than life to us boys. When necessary, she could handle our belts with just the right intent and proper force. Not too much, not too little, just right. It was discipline, not child abuse. It would keep us out of trouble, for a little while, anyway.
When she was done, she always knew how to make the sting go away.
Thank you, Mom. You did a great job.
We miss you…
© 2011 J. Clark