Present Tense

Thoughts on my mom…..

It’s Mother’s Day and I feel a bit melancholy.  You see, I’m not a mom and that was probably my biggest mistake in a life that has been full of them.  I also am missing my mom today.

I will call her later at their home in Battle Creek, Michigan.  I speak with her frequently, but I miss being with her on special days and I miss the mom that I grew up with.  My mom is 92 and a half years old.  She does not have dementia, but is getting a bit foggy.  My mom was generally a non-drinker and her current mental state is kind of like someone who’s enjoyed a glass or two of wine.  I suppose that’s not a horrible way to go into the sunset.

We no longer have the long and in-depth phone conversations that we used to have.  In fact, she has a tendency to finish a phone conversation rather abruptly once she’s said all she feels like saying.  My sisters and nieces  and I chuckle about it.  The silver lining is that we no longer fight and bicker over the phone;  I’ve decided that nothing is really worth fighting or bickering about when you’re 92 and a half.  I feel very protective of her feelings at this stage.

She can’t read like she used to. It tires her and that makes me sad.  My mom was militant about reading when I was a kid.  She didn’t care what I read, as long as I was reading something.  She bought me comic books every single week during our trip to the grocery store because she knew kids want to read fun stuff, not stuffy stuff.  She was right.  Once I was in school, I loaded up with books from the library every weekend and read them all.  Now that I’m a grown up, I have developed quite a taste for the stuffy stuff I avoided as  child.  You should see my night stand.  Ponderous.

My mother was a typical woman of her era (born in 1920) and she never played sports or developed an interest in sports or exercise.  She did all of the things that women of her era were supposed to do.  Having said that, she was never a very good cook.  That finally dawned on me once I left home and couldn’t get enough of the ‘delicious’ dorm food.

So even though she followed the more traditional role of her time, she allowed her youngest child to be an unruly, unkempt tom-boy.  My best friends were the rowdy boys in the neighborhood.  I hated dolls; loved baseball mitts and sporting goods.  She never tried to force me into the traditional feminine roles and this was during the 60s and 70s, before feminism became a big deal.

She was involved in politics and worked on various campaigns and I remember going with her to events.  I was fascinated by all of the buttons, bumper stickers and hats that they handed out.  She was for the Equal Rights Amendment and I’m not sure that she and my dad always saw eye to eye.  She was born the same year that American women were guaranteed the right to vote.  I think that probably shaped her views about voting and politics.

I guess I get my propensity for advocacy and strong opinions from her.  She also nurtured my sense of humor, my sense of the absurd and still encourages my writing.  Every time I talk to her, even now, she tells me that I should write more. She’s right about that.  I should.  Mom is always right.

May 12, 2013 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , ,


  1. My mom is 93, originally from Detroit, now in Florida. They were the same era, the similarities are amazing. Thank you for sharing.

    Comment by Keith Mobley | May 12, 2013 | Reply

    • Keith:
      They lived through some difficult times. Thanks for your note.

      Comment by janelondon | May 12, 2013 | Reply

  2. Thank you for this post. My mom and I don’t have the best relationship but I should just be nicer to her. Just because I can, and well one day my mom will be 92 too and i will wish I had spent more time talking to her. Jane through your writing and radio you should know you are a great role model for young women like me and isn’t that really what moms are. So in your own way your a great mother!

    Comment by Jackie | May 12, 2013 | Reply

    • Jackie;
      That is one of the greatest things that anyone has ever said to me. I’m stunned and grateful. Thanks so much for the comment and for reading my blog.

      Comment by janelondon | May 12, 2013 | Reply

  3. That was nice,Jane. I am struggling today…see,I just lost my mom a month ago,while trying to focus on what we had….I’m trying to be strong and get through the day. My 2 son’s are helping me with that…..I was very lucky that ny mmom knew me the whole time she was sick, she had demetia,and I spoke to her and saw her the day she passed. I know she is with me and I will forever hold her in my heart….

    Comment by pamela | May 12, 2013 | Reply

    • Pamela:
      I’m so sorry for your loss. A tough day, indeed. Our moms stay with us and in many cases we see them whenever we look in the mirror.
      Take care,

      Comment by janelondon | May 12, 2013 | Reply

  4. *This* Thank You Jane. Pure Awesomeness 🙂

    Comment by benzintensiveme | May 12, 2013 | Reply

  5. Loved reading this one about our Mom. I didn’t realize Mom was a fan of the ERA!!!!! I never thought of her as a feminist !!
    I laughed out loud when you talked about her cooking – I AGREE!!
    You are a great mother to your dogs!!!!
    Love, Marsha

    Comment by Marsha | May 12, 2013 | Reply

    • Oh, she was for the ERA. She was more liberal back in the day:)

      Comment by janelondon | May 12, 2013 | Reply

  6. Thank you Jane, for a wonderful blog and for today’s especially. You are a fantastic role model to all women, young and old, and your inspiration is a gift. And yes, you are a Mom to so many.

    Comment by judykingsolver | May 12, 2013 | Reply

  7. Thanks for sharing this today, Jane. You and I have many similarities. My mom is 84, Daddy will be 90 next month. They still live on the farm I grew up on near Dodge City, KS. Unfortunately, this past week they were given the news that Daddy has cancer. He took it well, as did she – after all – they both grew up in the Depression era – they know what stoic means. But it’s a difficult day today for my Mom. I also call her often, and will call a little later today as well. I’m the oldest of 7 kids in 9 years. She allowed me to be that tomboy, too – I kinda had to be–my two brothers were #6 & #7. I loved being outside, climbing trees, and later on helping Daddy with wheat harvest, I drove the combine at age 12 and continued as often as I could until a few years before they retired from farming, She sure could have used the help INSIDE the house – but no, not me. Anyway… thanks for sharing, and thanks for being a great daughter. And a great person -even if you believe you’re still a work in progress – I think you’ve come a long way, baby!

    Comment by ediekellogg | May 12, 2013 | Reply

  8. I think you should write more, too. Very well said.

    Comment by Linda OBrien | May 12, 2013 | Reply

  9. Well said Jane. My mom started going downhill 2 years ago on Mothers Day with dementia and died 5 months later. My dad died 20 years ago the day before Mothers Day so it’s a somewhat difficult day to get through. I also regret not having any children—got married when I was 38. So now it’s the two of us and our 2 dogs.

    Comment by Tania | May 12, 2013 | Reply

  10. My mom passed two years ago next week. Cherish these times, be they all too brief and fleeting, as you WILL miss them when she is gone.

    Thank you for a sensitive and thoughtful piece. I love your blog!

    Comment by Philip | May 12, 2013 | Reply

    • Philip:
      So sorry for your loss. Be well.

      Comment by janelondon | May 13, 2013 | Reply

  11. You honor your mom and all she taught you — with your writing, your work on the radio and your life. The things you have shared have spurred people on to all sorts of new chapters in their lives. Your connection with Mountain Pet Rescue has opened up a whole world of love in fostering puppies for my family and me . . . my daughter is now micro-chipping animals for MPR when they arrive, and is planning her future around rescuing animals. Please know that while I respect your ability to honestly assess what you would redo differently, you are living a magnificent life. Every choice you have made has made you who and how you are, and from where I sit, that is pretty awesome. Thank you.

    Comment by Susan Herr | May 12, 2013 | Reply

  12. Jane,
    I so understand your wonderful writings. My mom is almost 81, and gratefully, full of life! I miss our long conversations, laughing until one of us wets our pants, and pouring over precious memories of my dearly departed dad and most of his family. Like you, I chose not to have children and I do regret it. However, I hope that I inspire younger folks half as much as you do. My fur babies mean the world to me – so I do the best I can! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on your posts – your mom is right. Keep writing your wonderful thought provoking musings – it touches so many of us!

    Comment by Mary | May 12, 2013 | Reply

    • Mary:
      Thanks for the note. Take care!

      Comment by janelondon | May 13, 2013 | Reply

  13. You’re so fortunate to have your mom with you into her 90’s and that you can still enjoy the times and conversations with her. You can’t help but respect and love the mom that has always let you be who you are! I appreciate you sharing stories of your conversations and visits with your parents on the radio. It always makes me stop and be grateful that I still have my parents here with me and is a reminder to be thankful of the time we get to spend together. I’m so fortunate that my children get to spend so much time with them as well.

    My mother was pregnant when, at age 10, I was diagnosed with bone cancer and undergoing chemo. She is a worrier – always has been, but I commend her for keeping her worries about the possibility of my cancer reoccurring to herself and for being a pillar of strength when it would have been so easy for her to just fall apart. She allowed me to take on physical challenges on a regular basis (even though there were times when I know she was worried to death about whether I would be able to complete the task or that I might get hurt). She’s been a constant source of love and support and I will always be grateful for that. I can only aspire to be the same for my children.

    Thank you again for another thoughtful post!

    Comment by Annie Bitsie | May 12, 2013 | Reply

    • Annie:
      A lot of us were really lucky when it comes to moms. Thanks for the comment.

      Comment by janelondon | May 13, 2013 | Reply

  14. I miss my mom too, hence working on buying something back “home” like you. She is “only” 78 and thankfully we haven’t fought about much, mostly what I wear, how my hair looks, how much I weigh, etc,; I have learned to ignore the criticism as it really isn’t much but it does amaze me that after over 50 years, she still comments on those things! Of 4 girls in my family, only one had kids, I really love the children but did not want to be single mom & never found the right man to marry. It is obvious from all the comments that you are not alone in your thoughts on Mother’s Day. And if you didn’t feel better already, may it help to know that I kind of forgot to call my mom yesterday, even though I love her! Too tired and hungry right after 10 hour work day to call when I got home and then I forgot! WIll be seeing her tomorrow when I go back for visit so not such a big deal that I didn’t call, I hope.

    Comment by Jessi | May 13, 2013 | Reply

  15. Jane, Your Mom is right you should write. I am the baby of 15 children and my Mom died in 2001 at the age of 85. I love and miss her everyday and feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful Mom and lucky to have 8 brothers and 6 sister that her and my Dad have left me. All the best to you and your Mom! I love your show and listen to you everydayt! Joni

    Comment by Joni Raimondo | May 13, 2013 | Reply

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