Still Learning From Mom

Mom in North Dakota 2010

As a kid, I grew exasperated with my mother’s obsession with nature. “Listen!” She would turn her head this way and that, a big grin on her face. “It’s so quiet.”

Mom taught us to value silence. She grew up in silence, on a farm in North Dakota. She taught us to notice the way a breeze sounds like a roar when it moves through pine trees. She taught us to hear the multi-tiered notes of the meadowlark, and to see the mare’s tales scraping the sky.

She taught us that family is everything.

Now she’s 85, and she’s teaching me how to age. She lives alone, but has a posse of girlfriends to have coffee or lunch with. Sometimes they go to the movies. Mom attends exercise class three times a week, and she’s active in her church. She stood up in front of a group the other day, on an issue that was important to her. It was business meeting at her church. Her hands were shaking but she stated her case. Twice, because she didn’t think they got it the first time. She was proud of herself and I’m proud of her. She’s still growing.

Here she is, visiting the North Dakota Badlands in September 2010 with her elder sister who lives in Indiana. Both of them have health problems – the kind that wake you up at two in the morning and you wonder if this is the night you’re going to have to call 911. But they might take an aspirin with a glass of milk, or read, and grow peaceful again and go back to sleep. In the morning, there is the sun, and it’s another day.

Mom is still teaching me. The current lesson is how to age with courage.

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  1. says

    What a great tribute to a remarkable woman who cherished the healing properties of nature’s splendor. She sounds a lot like my mom, who also taught me to hear the lonely cry of a loon at dusk, the wind whistling through the pines and the soothing calm of waves breaking against the shoreline in Northern Wisconsin.

    • says

      Great to read your comment, Pat. My dad was born in Milwaukee. I didn’t grow up around loons (insert joke here) but it is one of my favorite sounds.

      Hope you’ll stop by again. Any future comments will go up instantly without waiting for moderation. Best wishes.

  2. KO says

    Man Lynne – you’re Mom looks great in that picture! I always admired her. So nuturing and easy to talk to. Looking out for me as if I was one of her own. Give her my love!

  3. says

    What a beautiful piece about your mother. My mom is gone now and but suffered from dementia for 12 years so I lost her long before she actually passed. Treasure your mom, sometimes I didn’t and now I regret it.

    But as usual, you’ve triggered an idea for a post! Thanks, Sista.

    BTW, I’m back to my boomer babe blog. Stop over when you have a chance.

  4. says

    I loved this, of course, Lynne! Meadowlarks, prairie wind, Badlands. My world! I wrote of meadowlarks in my book Where the Heart Resides: Timeless Wisdom of the American Prairie … and whenever I hear one, it just makes my day. Their melody is so very unique and inspiring, touching my soul in places almost beyond words. Here in eastern Dakota we hear them some, but in central Dakota, deep in the prairie, meadowlarks abound. More @ — just for fun!
    Mothers and grandmothers do teach us to age … great topic. In fact, I rec’d a book as a gift recently that you might enjoy. “Don’t Sing at the Table: Life Lessons From My Grandmothers” by Adriana Trigiani.
    Take care and enjoy this lovely day. –Daisy

  5. says

    Fabulous tribute to your mom, Lynne! Her strength, her courage, her tenacity are superb traits for you and your siblings to model — how awesome that, at her age, she’s still growing and embracing life! Thanks for sharing her with us.

  6. says

    Lovely post, Lynne. I’m learning more from my mother since she’s passed on, because I am learning to listen better. Today, with your writing, I think of Mom standing on Maxton Plains on Drummond Island, all alone, keeping the ATVs off the precious foliage of the alvar plain. Courageous mothers. We’re blessed. Thank you for reminding us.

  7. says

    Thanks for asking about my Mom,Lynne. She is doing very well. Of course, missing the love of her life but she tells me she feels his presence and that comforts her. She keeps active,cries when she needs to and is making the most of it all. I love your phrase~keeping the grief at bay. Like your Mom, she continues to be an inspiration to us all. BTW she is enjoying the book on grief that you had recommended :)

  8. says

    What a treasure of a story ,Lynne. I love getting to know your Mom~a woman of substance ,indeed. Her picture is wonderful. Thanks for sharing Mom with us. Priceless.

    • says

      Thanks, Kathy. I love that picture!

      Hope your mother is managing okay – it took Mom about 6 months to come out of what she calls “the fog” after Dad passed. Now she’s thriving again, and although she’ll never stop missing him, she can keep the grief at bay 90% of the time. And after 59 years of marriage, I think that’s a lot.


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