|Mom and Dad with all the grandsons|
at their 50th anniversary party,
which she did enjoy in the end!
She doesn’t like being the center of attention and was ambivalent about having a party in her honor. She was concerned people would think she was making a big deal out of being married for 50 years and they would only come out of obligation. We suggested wording for the invitation, “We hope you won’t be able to come.” Seriously, though, we are happy to embarrass and honor our wonderful mom on this special day.
Mom, like our Nicholas, was the bonus baby. Her sister and brother were teenagers when she was born, so she was cherished by her family. Her mom Rita was a master gardener—quiet and compassionate—and her dad Lloyd was funny, opinionated, and strong willed.
At Oregon City High School, Mom played marimba and drums. It was unusual in the 1950s for a girl to play percussion. She always encouraged our pursuit of music and paid for both lessons and musical instruments without hesitation.
|Mom's family seeing them off at the airport|
Then they went to Germany to work for a few years and travel throughout Europe. What we didn’t realize until later was that they had planted the desire for travel in both of us. We were 19 and 21 and we flew off to live in China and Japan within one week of each other. As parents, we find it hard to comprehend how difficult this must have been, but they always encouraged us.
|Seeing me off at the airport to live in Japan (August 1986)|
(Nadine left for China a week later!)
|With my mom|
Two years later, I (Nadine) was born. A few years later, our brother Stephen was born weighing only 5 pounds, and he had to spend several days in the hospital to gain weight. Mom stayed at home while Dad taught and went to graduate school. As mothers of 3 kids, it’s easy to feel inadequate and overwhelmed. But one phone call to Mom reassures us our kids will be okay and we need to be kind to ourselves. And knowing Mom wasn’t perfect makes us feel better. For example, one day she was making cocoa for Stephen and he kept telling her it was too hot, then too cold, then too hot. He pushed her so far that she decided to pour the cocoa on his head. Our kids love to hear this story.
|Family around 1973|
Living on one teaching salary meant we didn’t have much money. Dad would take on summer jobs and Mom made do with a small grocery budget. She was an adventurous cook—we had tacos and teriyaki long before our friends had heard of them. We almost always had home-cooked family dinners together, and she taught us how to cook at a young age.
What we lacked in money, we had in love and security. As parents now, we know that food, shelter, and unconditional love are the three ingredients of a happy childhood. We either made our own clothes or bought them on sale, and our big-ticket gifts like bikes, stereos, or musical instruments were secondhand. We camped on family vacations instead of staying in hotels. We have wonderful childhood memories.
|Visiting relatives in Philadelphia, 1981--check out those knee highs!|
Mom instilled four important lessons in us. First, she taught us that what we do as women matters, and that we should pursue rewarding careers. When we were in middle school, Mom went back to school to get her master’s degree in counseling. That meant we needed to help with the meals and be more independent.
|My graduation from PLU in 1986, with a B.A. in English|
After Mom got her graduate degree, she went back to work as a mental health therapist at St. Vincent Hospital. What Mom demonstrated to us was that women should seek their own fulfillment and not just live their lives through their children. She set a great example of a work-life balance that we both strive for to this day.
Mom also spent time with her carefully selected friends. She chose friends who were like her--funny, intelligent, loving, and compassionate. As I look at the close friends all three of us have today, they share those four characteristics. She trained us well to choose our friends wisely.
|Celebrating Mother's Day this afternoon--|
Mom with all three kids
|With my boys on Mother's Day|
Mom is always there when we need her…from Christopher’s long NICU stay, Nadine’s bedrest with the twins, to when we’ve been recovering from surgeries, Mom is a steady, loving presence.
She is also an incredible grandma to our six boys. She’s a grandma who plays Monopoly, shows them how to cook, eats popcorn and watches the Blazers, reads books, and showers them with affection. We cannot imagine having a better role model as a mother and grandmother. She is encouraging, supportive, wise, genuine, and loving.
We are both happy with our testosterone-charged families…but we also need our female time. On Friday night we just had our annual Mother’s Day getaway, which all three of us treasure.
|With Mom on Friday night, our women's getaway|
We love you Mom. Thank you for giving us such a great start in life.
And I want to give a special shout-out to my wonderful hubby, who made six quiches for brunch today and held down the fort this weekend so I could spend time with my wonderful mom and sister. He is amazing!
|With my honey!|