Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘mom

Long Haul

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One-hundred years ago today the woman who became my mother was born. Elizabeth Jean Elliott grew up during the Great Depression and as an adult served in the US Naval Reserve WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) during World War II. She raised six kids. She knew about the long haul.

I wonder what she would think today about the way people are responding to the current coronavirus pandemic.

It’s hard to grasp where we are on the curve of the immanently approaching viral outbreak, both in terms of the risk to lives and the fragility of people’s financial well-being.

There have been comparisons to both the Depression and WWII. While some talking heads are trying to convince the citizens that we’ll get over this in a matter of weeks, health experts are struggling to prepare people’s mindset for disruptions that could last months.

Obviously, in the attempt to avoid the sharp exponential rise in cases that would overwhelm our healthcare resources, officials are trying to accomplish restrictions that will flatten that curve to a level the hospital workers and facilities can support. If that wise goal is achieved, the flatter curve becomes a wider curve, meaning a longer duration.

This past week has been a mind-numbing jumble of stressful routine disruptions that felt like it lasted twice that duration. If one week of having our lives drastically upended was this exhausting, how are we going to deal with months more like it?

Mom would know.

I’m pretty sure she was one to practice the philosophy of taking things one day at a time. She had a way of presenting a mental preparedness for the worst possible outcome while maintaining a hope that it might end up being better than that.

It’s a philosophy I am trying to apply to the oncoming mud season. Our snow is gone except for a couple small remnants of piles that were created when I plowed the driveway. Actually, I’ll miss those when they’ve completely disappeared because they happen to be a great place to clean the mud from my boots before going back into the house.

Our front entry is a cruddy disaster between dirty boots and muddy paws umpteen times a day. (I’m pretty sure I picked up “umpteen” from Mom.)

The trails in the woods are teetering on being unusable where the mud is so ferocious it threatens to keep a boot that steps into it. Yesterday afternoon and evening we received enough rain to take things to level-two messy.

I fear the month of April is going to be a long haul in more ways than one.

Stay home and space out.

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Written by johnwhays

March 26, 2020 at 6:00 am

Other Mother

with 10 comments

When I married Cyndie, I officially gained my other mother, Marie. At the time, I had no idea what that was going to be like, but my sense was that it would be good. For the prior seven years when Cyndie and I were dating, I had enjoyed time with her family almost as much as with her alone.

Now, thirty-six years later, I can report that my mother-in-law experience has been infinitely better than I could possibly have imagined.

Cyndie’s mother, Marie, is celebrating a milestone birthday today. This morning we are gathering for breakfast at a restaurant to honor the occasion. This is particularly fitting, because family breakfasts under Marie’s skillful direction have been a priceless treat over the years.

If anyone ever happened to express a preference for something, maybe commenting about how they like their eggs prepared, Marie would notice and remember, serving up a perfect variety of versions every year after to assure everyone always gets what they want.

Marie’s balance of being exceptionally adventurous while also nurturing an organized routine of most activities have added depth, and provided stability, to my life as an in-law. We share enough traits to be in sync often, and clash only rarely.

Probably best of all for me, Marie has a keen sense of humor. She is ever so gracious in allowing herself be the target of jabs, while also being wily enough to play along with ever-present silliness and get in a few of her own pokes along the way.

It’s considered bad manners to reveal a lady’s age, so I will avoid blurting it out in public, but let’s just say it’s a good round number that just might have an 8 in it.

Happy Birthday, my other mom. You are terrific!

Keep up the good work.

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Written by johnwhays

September 15, 2017 at 6:00 am

Hi, Mom

with 4 comments

It’s a tough thing to lose a parent, but my mom lived a long, full life. She was ready to go when her time came, and I was ready for her to go. It’s been many years since I’ve been able to spend time with her on Mother’s Day, and as each additional year passes, instead of getting easier, I find I miss her more and more.

Here’s to my mom.

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Written by johnwhays

May 8, 2016 at 9:23 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , , , ,

Overwhelmingly Loved

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I am living a charmed life lately. Really. It’s a bit overwhelming. How do you adequately thank someone for loving you?

IMG_iP1204ePequenita has been dishing out so much affection for me that I am almost feeling smothered by her. At the same time, who can resist the charm of a cat who repeatedly seeks a perch somewhere on top of you?

She can be so insistent for attention when I get home from work that I have to pick her up to protect my legs from becoming her scratching post. If I make the mistake of choosing to lay down with her for a few minutes at that hour of the day, I usually become the victim of an unplanned nap.

She oftentimes finds a suitable spot on my legs and joins me for a snooze.

My lovely wife has been spoiling me with extra special attention by choosing healthy options for my goal of eating a reduced sugar diet, and tweaking her bread recipes to incorporate more diverse grains with extra substance. Lately I have a thing for millet in bread, along with a fondness for wheat berry and sunflower nuts, in addition to the usual whole grains.

DSCN4668eYesterday, Cyndie nailed it with a couple of excellent loaves, hot out of the oven at dinner time, while she was simultaneously whipping up some fresh homemade pasta to serve as a base under her delectable leftover beef bourguignon that was recently pulled from the freezer.

It certainly feels like being loved, to be fed like that.

My mom gave Cyndie some special training on how to make the bread I grew up with. Talk about love!

Last night, while looking at the beautiful loaves she created, I suddenly noticed an insight about how my father must have felt about the bread mom baked for him throughout their life together. Mom told us stories about how she first learned to bake bread when they were newlyweds stationed in a fire lookout tower in Glacier National Park.

By the time I was born, over 10-years later, she had definitely mastered the craft. Her homemade bread was a staple in our kitchen. Dad was a stern scolder when we didn’t cut straight slices. We toasted it and fried it, and I recall Dad used a slice to soak up the juice on the meat platter when the menu involved steak.

My parents weren’t very demonstrative of their love, but looking back, those years of homemade bread reveal a pretty good version of it.

Now I am blessed with the same. It is overwhelmingly lovely.

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Written by johnwhays

April 20, 2016 at 6:00 am

Mommas

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from the moment
she conceives
mom carries her child
in a way
no one else
could possibly match
something about
that maternal bond
through the years
every day
she will always be mom
like a lion
when need be
she will fight to protect
yet gives love
at the times
children least expect
from this dad’s view
it’s a magical thing
far beyond my ability
to grasp
for what mothers convey
let’s pause on this day
sending love momma’s way
mom means the most
to those she gave birth
there is no formula to measure
how much that is worth

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Written by johnwhays

May 11, 2014 at 8:40 am

Posted in Creative Writing

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