Mom and Maria in 1994

It’s Mother’s Day, and as much as I’m not fond of Hallmark holidays, I think this one’s legit. After all, where would we be without Mom? Can the importance of Mom be overstated? I seriously doubt it. Mom is the love source and as much as we dads can do in terms of raising our kids, it ultimately pales in comparison. To point, I remember one dinner table conversation years ago when Maria was about 10. The topic of who was the alpha dog in our family came up. I volunteered that the alpha dog in our family could only be me as I was the Dad. In response, Maria looked at me with the utmost sincerity and said, and I quote, “Dad, if you think you’re the alpha dog, you’re dreaming.” Patrick, in case you’re wondering, did not come to my aid and simply kept shoveling food in his mouth. The discussion was over.   

All kidding aside, Moms are vital to our early development, especially in terms forming our core imprint beliefs–beliefs about our identity, our sense of who we are, if we feel safe in the world or not, and how confidently we face new experiences and changes. Mind you, all these beliefs are formed by the time we’re four.  

My Mom, Mary Ellen Wade, was born at home in the small south Texas town of La Villa on Sunday, December 29th, 1929, just at the onset of the great depression. Her family lived on practically nothing the first years of her life and it made lasting impression on her in terms of frugality and her never wasting anything. It also had a lot to do with her fairly strict code of manners and proper behavior that we followed–or else. Don’t say please or thank you, or hold the door open for someone, and feel the wrath. It was not pretty.

Mom, if you’re curious, did not drink wine. With trying to raise six kids and manage that chaos of our household, a glass of wine would not have made a dent. Much stronger water was needed and Bourbon was the usual prescription.

Finally, my Mom taught me so much more than I could ever learn from the outside world. Here are just a few of the things I learned from her growing up:

· Cats are not good sponges.

· Nobody’s perfect so give people a break. 

· You really don’t know everything all the time.

· Tying your sister up and leaving her in the closet is not acceptable.

· Why should anyone else clean up your mess?

· Reading and learning is the only way you will get ahead.

· Lousy grades in school are not an option.

· Pets and household appliances are not a good combination.

· Your family is everything.

· Why should anyone give you the time of day if you’re not nice to them?

· Gasoline is not a recreational substance.

· Use good manners or god help you.

· Don’t expect anyone to do it for you.

· How to talk to girls.

· How NOT to talk to girls.

· How to treat girls.

· How NOT to treat girls.

· Digging a large hole in the lawn does not make a swimming pool.

· Do things ahead of time before you absolutely have to do them.

· Don’t stand around while other people are working. Offer to help them.

· Dropping a large rock on your brother’s head in retaliation for an earlier ambush is not acceptable.

Suffice to say, that my Mom has always been one of my heroes and that only grows as time goes on. She passed away in February of 2006. I think about her every day and still miss her terribly. Here’s looking at you, Mom.