The World's Worst Mother
By Polly Anne Wise

After mothering me for thirty years, my mom stood in the kitchen of my home and announced these words, "I was the world's worst mother, and I am so sorry." She then proceeded to apologize for all the things that she did wrong in raising me. I realized that she was filled with guilt about the strict rules of her child-raising years, causing me to miss many school dances. She was mortified that she and my father were too poor to afford my high school ring. She was ashamed of herself for punishments that lasted for weeks. She was sad that she tried to choose my friends. My mother went on and on about her mistakes and regrets as tears of pain streamed down her face.
 
Right at that moment my mom looked so beautiful. I wondered why my entire family, including me, took her for granted. How do you tell your mother all that she is to you? I wanted to tell her that the punishments and strict rules of my childhood were the result of the deep love, worry and concern she had for me and my sisters; they have a very small spot in my memory in comparison to my recollections of the nights she let me stay up late and bake cookies with her and talk with her until the wee hours of the morning. Those are my memories-very fond memories. I kept silent instead of telling her how much it meant that she scraped together the money for my wedding shoes and matching purse. I couldn't swallow the lump in my throat so I could explain all of the millions of ways she makes me feel so special, both as a child and as an adult. I should have told my mother, on that day, that of all the people in my life, no one has ever loved me in the unconditional way that she does. But I didn't.
 
Four years have gone by since the day I didn't tell my mother that any mistakes were tiny molehills and her love and understanding were the big beautiful mountains in my life. I have cried myself to sleep for not telling her then. So, I'm telling her now. "Thank you, Mom for being my mom. Thank you for not aborting me. Thank you for all the sacrifices you made for us -for me. Thank you for turning our house into a home, it was our safehaven from a sometimes frightening world. You were a wonderful mother and I am so glad God picked you for me." "Thank you God, for the world's best "worst" mother. I don't know if she can hear me, so would you please tell her for me?"
 

Food for Thought
By Carol McAdoo Rehme

Heart failure had robbed her of her husband and now macular degeneration was stealing her eyesight and osteoporosis was plundering her body.
 
I worried about my elderly neighbor's loneliness and her diet. Lack of appetite and motivation kept Gwen from cooking. More than a quiet street separated the two of us. Her life had been derailed while mine was a locomotive on a fast track as I raised a house full of kids and maintained a demanding time schedule to match. So I turned to Koy, our little redheaded caboose, for help.
 
"Do you think you can carry these muffins over to Mrs. Potter's?"
 
"I fink I can," he nodded.
 
With me watching from our front door and Gwen waiting at hers, three-year-old Koy cautiously crossed the street, carrying the plate of fragrant goodies. And so began their long relationship.
 
"I fink Grandma Potter needs me," he would say. Or, "Don't you fink Grandma Potter wants some of those cookies?" And, "I fink Grandma Potter likes cupcakes." Then off he would go  thoughtfully bearing a plate of this or a zip-locked bag of that always taking time to settle in for a nice little talk.
 
Well, Koy talked; Gwen listened. A lonely last child; a lonesome lost widow.
 
Those regular visits continued through the years, sometimes at her invitation and other times at his instigation. As his age, sensitivity, and care-giving expertise grew, Koy did more than take food. He ran her errands, did light chores, and drove her to doctor appointments. On prom night, he and his date even dashed through the rain ... to model their finery before an admiring Grandma Potter.
 
Finally, as we stood arm-in-arm in the street waving Koy off to college, Gwen turned to me.
 
"I'm certainly going to miss that young man and his visits. You know, when he was little, he rarely came empty-handed."
 
I nodded agreement, remembering all the baking I used to do.
 
"But, when you didn't send something, our little Koy must have raided the pantry." She winked. "No matter what, he always took good care of me."
 
"What do you mean?"
 
"Over he would come, his pocket filled with raisins, pretzels, popcorn, or even Cheerios. Whatever he could scavenge."
 
I laughed in motherly embarrassment. "Oh, good grief." I could just imagine grubby little boy hands and fists full of crumbs. "What did you do?"
 
"Why, I got out a serving plate," she smiled at the memory. "I watched as he proudly piled his offerings on the kitchen table. Then ... well . then the two of us sat down and ate them... pocket lint and all."
 
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