The alarm bell rings at 5:15 am and I reluctantly climb out of bed at 5:30 am, headed for the kitchen. My first thoughts of the day are on Mom. “Good morning” I whisper in the quiet darkness of my home. After getting the kids up, I begin making breakfast as I do every morning with the hope that I can get something healthy into their bodies for the demands of the day ahead.
I stand over the stove cracking eggs and immediately am drawn back to the 1980’s when I was a girl growing up in south Jersey. I recall with vivid detail this same scene except the mother in the kitchen was my beloved mom Joan and the kids were my siblings and me. Mom got up early every morning before going to work as a nurse to make sure we had a good nourishing breakfast. To be honest, we were less than appreciative of this effort preferring cold cereal to her good egg sandwiches. This did not deter her though because she knew what was best for us and she kept doing what was best, despite our attitude or ingratitude.
As I close my eyes I can still see her smiling face and happy greeting as we entered the kitchen “Good morning guys – it’s going to be another great day!” Always the eternal optimist, we could count on Mom to greet us in this same joyful manner every day. Looking back, I now realize how amazing that was. I’ll be honest, I did not feel like cooking eggs at 5:30 am today nor did I feel too happy in the cold darkness of the early morning. I bet she didn’t either yet she overcame her own feelings and put the best interests of her children first. Drawing on her deep Catholic faith, she sought to give her whole self to her family so they could know the love of God by her very example.
Andrew has happily finished his egg sandwich today, because I had time to “shake things up” and put it on a tortilla in the hot pan thanks to Emma. Emma is driving him to school so I can go to Physical Therapy before work. Thanks to their Nona, my children have learned how to give of themselves in order to help someone in need. Today, that someone is me and the morning school ride for Andrew is a blessing. (Andrew eating his breakfast is also a blessing.)
As I wave goodbye to my two youngest in the dawn of the early morning, my eyes are misty thinking of Mom. I quietly thank her for the incredible example of how to be a good mother. From egg sandwiches to helping out when needed – I have learned these things and passed them on to my children because that is what she did. I trust that my children will do the same and the beautiful example of her love – the selfless giving of oneself for the benefit of the other will continue in this world, thanks to the gift of my mother, Joan Mary.