Saturday, July 13, 2013

Six Generations of Motherhood

Today I celebrate my mother's birth.  She would have been 72 years young.  Winifred Lois Bedin Daugs (in the hat) was the finest example of motherhood I have known.  And anyone who knew her said the same. Although she did not grow up in a large family (she had one brother), she always had an innate love for children.  Motherhood was her greatest satisfaction and joy.  She gave birth to and raised seven daughters and two sons!  (I am third oldest, pictured in the middle of my two older sisters.) Winnie, as she was called, was raised by her grandmother (on the left) because during her growing-up years her parents were alcoholics, and not always emotionally or physically available. Mom's grandmother was her best friend.  Her mom (on the right) operated a beauty salon out of their home and worked long hours.

My mother was a remarkable woman.  I never heard her raise her voice--ever!  I never heard her swear or curse--ever!  She taught her children the value of hard work, integrity, commitment, responsibility, organization and loyalty.  But she also encouraged us to explore our own interests and to pursue our own dreams.  She had a witty sense of humor though did not flaunt it.  She was highly intelligent and earned a nursing degree after she bore all nine children; she received the highest academic honors in her class, though most of whom were thirty years younger than she. Mother was musical and artistic in many ways, though she was content to watch her children develop their own talents more than she had the opportunity to do so herself.  Mom was the epitome of compassion.  She not only cared for her own family but often assisted other families who needed help, support, money, a home-cooked meal, clothing (home-sewn!), a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on.  In all honesty, she was a Saint. To me, she was a 'Mother Teresa' in her own corner of the world--quiet, dignified, devoted, strong, and a woman of faith.  I truly 'owe all that I am to my angel mother'.

The photo below was taken this past Mother's Day.  I have three sons and two daughters-in-law.  This is my daughter-in-law, Annie, and my granddaughters, Emma and Charlotte.  Looking at the two photos I am awestruck at the Circle of Life and the generations of mothers who influence our lives for good. When Emma was about three years old, I was reading her a picture book about a little girl and her mother.  At the end of the story we had the following conversation:

"Grandma, what is your mother's name?"

"Well, Emma, my mother died before you were born, but her name is Winifred."

With an astonished look and great enthusiasm, Emma said, "Oh!  I remember her!"

"You do?" I asked, equally astonished.

"Yes! She was my best friend!"

"Really?" I was still in utter amazement. "What did she tell you, Emma?"

"Oh, she told me about Jesus and how much He loves me."  Then Emma hugged me and smiled a smile I will always remember. And I can still hear her little voice and see the look on her face when my granddaughter, Emma, told me about my mother, Winnie.

First a daughter, then a mother, now a grandmother, I hope I will honor always honor motherhood the way my mother did.  And the way she still does.