For my mother

My Mom came from a large family. She was one of 10 children who lived on a farm just outside Herreid, South Dakota. She learned early on, from my Grandmother and Grandfather, how to work hard. After graduating, she left the farm and became a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Later, I watched as she went back to school to become a Registered Nurse (RN). She graduated with honors and was my example when I returned to school to get my master’s degree. I thought of my Mom when I returned to school. I remembered her hard work and sacrifice. I remembered her long hours studying at our kitchen table. Like her, I graduated Summa Cum Laude.

She continued to set amazing examples for me and my sister. As I grew, I watched as she worked as an RN volunteer with the Hospice program. I admired her for working in such a sad and difficult environment. It takes a strong and compassionate person to care for people you know won’t recover.

After her volunteer work with Hospice, she took a job as an RN in a local nursing home. The residents loved her, as she quickly became their advocate, making sure they always got what they needed when she was working. She would go the extra mile, often baking cakes and visiting when she could.

Even though she was quite strict with my sister and myself growing up, and we still have disagreements to this very day, I hope she knows I look to her example when I think of helping others. I remember her tough love lessons of hard work and sacrifice. She set the bar high and I don’t think I’ve yet reached it.

This is a photo was taken in June, 1987. That’s me, on the right, at age 18, with my mother at Mount Rushmore in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.

In honor of mother’s day, yesterday, I’m posting a poem I wrote for my Mom in June, 2005, in honor of her 60th birthday. It describes me, talking to God before I was born. God is describing who he has chosen as a mother for me and how she would help me grow.

For My Mother

The Lord said to me, before I was born,
 “I’ve chosen the perfect Mother for you.”
With a smile on his face, beaming with pride,
 “Oh yes, this one’s quite special, it’s true.”

“She has a heart, as big as can be.”
He said, with a tear streaming down his face.
“There’s no one on Earth she wants to see hurt.
I’m sure she’ll be in this place.”

“She goes out of her way, to help those that she loves,
without a second thought in her heart.”
He turned to his head and looked into my eyes.
“She’ll be your advocate right from the start.”

He took my face gently into his hands.
“She won’t make life easy for you.
This one is willful, but that’s a good thing.
There’ll be lessons in all that you do.”

“You’ll make mistakes and bad choices it’s true.
But this Mother will see you through it.
She’ll use tough love and firm discipline
and teach you never to quit.”

“Well my child, it’s time for you to go.”
As he took me into his arms.
“There will be rough times, but you’re in good hands.
She’ll see you come to no harm.”

As a child and a teen, I forgot all his words,
making life hard for us all.
There were fights, tears and battles along the way,
but through it she stood tall.

As I look back on those years from the past,
I realized how right was the Lord.
What a fabulous person to have in my life.
For without her, I couldn’t soar.

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