My mom is Mary Frances Conner Rowe. I love her so much. She grew up in Wichita Falls, TX and Rogers, AR. She loved to be barefoot and wear jeans in an era when little girls were supposed to curl their hair, wear pretty socks and shoes and dresses and, for goodness sake, not run around like a wild thing. Her dad is a retired Baptist preacher who loved/loves to tinker, fix stuff, paint beautiful paintings, take drives in the country and take lots and lots of pictures. Her mom is an accomplished musician who played piano or organ in church for most of her life! Mom's mom tried awfully hard to get Mom to fix up her hair and be lady-like. Mom tried awfully hard to play hard outside. She milked goats(guess that came through in the DNA), drew and learned how to play the piano and organ. Not to mention all the other long list of things she can do.
Dad was working at a filling station pumping gas when he met Mom. He says that when those long legs got out of the car and he saw that cute smile that followed it was love at first sight. Not too long after, they were married. Money was tight in those days- they would go duck hunting for supper. Babies started coming along before you know it. When we all moved to the country, mom worked right alongside of daddy, doing whatever was necessary. When his hand was to big to assist in a goat or cow delivery, she would stick hers right in to save a baby. When garden needed planting or hay needed cutting-she was right there. Many years she and daddy would be up most all night Christmas Eve making homemade toys for us for Christmas. She would sew matching dresses for my two younger sisters and myself for Easter. She would make us special dresses for the dances in our little Oklahoma town, Prague, for the Kolache Festival.
Mom is a professional artist. She has artwork in some galleries in Texas and you can look up her work online. She probably would be a lot more well known except for the fact that for many years, instead of painting full-time and marketing her work, she made biscuits(angel biscuits-the absolute best), helped with homework and taught us how to hang clothes on the line and iron. Too bad all her lessons on ironing didn't stick. But anyway, I digress. Mom helped teach VBS at church, took us to piano lessons because moms really don't have any business teaching their own children piano and helped us make caramel corn. She played the piano or organ at church and at home for us to sing around. Sometimes I know she would be tired, but would keep playing one more song as we sang and sang.
Mom didn't do everything for us. She let us get in the kitchen and learn to cook by trial and error. Some people I know had moms who never let their kids cook for fear of the mess. We must have made cookies three times a week. She didn't live to clean house. Mom is a great house cleaner, but is an artist first and foremost. So she taught us really important lessons, like do what you have to do- and for her, that was paint. Even if she couldn't paint full-time, she made time to paint anyway. And to occasionally go to a workshop to improve her natural talent. And to occasionally go to artshows to sell her work. I have great memories of the times she would take me along and I had free reign to roam around the exhibits-not like today where you have to worry about your kids getting out of sight for a minute. She would go places to take photos and paint on location. She would take mental health days and run away from home for a couple of days when she needed to recharge. Sometimes she would get mad at us when we would finally push one button too many, and she would slam cabinet doors and yell "Fiddlesticks!" She didn't hold it in and simmer forever.
Mom taught us to appreciate beautiful things. She would play the most beautiful classical pieces on the piano on our little farm. Just thinking about listening to that music makes my heart rate slow. She took us to art museums. She and daddy took us to beautiful places. She took thousands of photographs of flowers and grass and rocks and hills and deserts. Speaking of rocks, she taught us to look for pretty rocks and who knows how many rocks she has carried around from home to home. She worked to make a beautiful home and to pull out beautiful dishes for Sunday dinners. Even though mom is an introvert, she welcomed and offered hospitality to the many people my extroverted dad would bring home, even guys he met who were hitchhiking and needing a clean place to work and live.
Mom made time to read books. Lots and lots of books. And she would get up in the mornings and have her cup of tea and read the Bible. Actually, I think about the time we hit our teens, she would get up much earlier and spend quite a bit more time reading her Bible, praying, writing in her journal. She prayed diligently for us. Still does. She would take us to the library and let me check out at least 10 books a week without a fuss knowing that she and I would read them every one before Friday rolled around and it would be time to check out 10 more.
My mom has cried with me, held me, gone to Mexico with me, typed my papers for me, made pretty dresses for me, cheered me on, encouraged me, believed, truly believed I could do anything I set out to do. She is proud of me and tells me so regularly. She doesn't even get mad when I never get around to sending cards to her because I forget. She bakes valentine's day cookies for me and Philip and the kids. She teaches me that sometimes life hurts and we keep on moving anyway.
It would take years to tell my mom thank you for all she has done for me. No little post in a blog could cover the half of what she means to me. I know Mother's Day is just a big commercial holiday, designed to make us spend big dollars. Never mind. I am glad for a chance to tell my mom I love her. I appreciate her. I am glad she has been a part of making me who I am.
I love you, Mom. I am proud of you. Thanks for everything. Now go get a kleenex and blow your nose! I'm on my way to get one, too. And for all you non-sentimental people ready to throw up, well, I didn't force you to read this silly blog!!!