Recipe for a Great Mother

I have a great mother, so this is a subject I know about. The recipe may not be one that is easily repeated, but you are free to try. To make my great mother, Barbara, here’s what was needed:

*Being the child of Henriette, the youngest child in a family of eleven, who was so very delighted to have such a beautiful, smart, talented daughter

*Being the child of Frank, a man whose life was not easy due to the death of his first wife leaving him with three children, and a business catastrophe, and a stroke, but who was an amazing gardener and cook, who also loved his beautiful, smart, talented daughter

*Being the baby sister of much older siblings, whose bossiness made her a determined rebel (though she loved them, and they loved her)

*Being the child of parents of German descent, whose well-meaning desire to correct her faults and not to spoil her with too much flattery made her the kind of mother who remembered often to tell her own three children how beautiful and smart and wonderful she thought they were

*Being a child growing up in the Depression, which made her value beauty and art and music, and whose every home has been gradually sculpted into a beautiful living space

Also needed to be a great mother like my mother are:

*An ability to wield language to devastating effect against stupidity, evil, and sappy musicals, with a wit to make her friends and family laugh and laugh

*A willingness to schlep a kid to the library over and over and over and over while letting her flip between radio stations in what must have been an annoying fashion

*A willingness to take time after a long day cuddling at night after bathtime reading aloud each child’s favorite Winnie-the-Pooh poem (“What is the matter with Mary Jane? She’s crying with all her might and main! And she won’t eat her dinner–rice pudding again. What IS the matter with Mary Jane?”)

*A willingness to go off and tutor kids after school, sending the message that you need to help take care of other people’s kids that need it as well as your own

*An appreciation for a perfect tomato, a Sondheim song, a British television show, a Dorothy Sayers mystery, the Episcopal liturgy, and all of the other good things in life

There are undoubtedly many other ingredients I am missing, so I’m not sure your recipe will come out quite right. But this recipe came out beautifully, which I know because I am lucky enough to be her daughter.

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2 Responses to Recipe for a Great Mother

  1. Barbara Dove says:

    Oh, Susie, thank you! And thank you for leaving out all the bad parts, like impatience and a hot temper..

  2. Carrie Dove Morton says:

    Great mothers also make great aunts, great sisters-in-law and great life-long friends… and the recipe is remarkably the same. Thank you Aunt Barbara for always being there through the thick and thin of things. And thank you for teaching Susie and me by example. I love you dearly!

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