I was nominated for Illinois Mother of the Year in 2009. Since then my everyday life has changed considerably. I am no longer the energetic business owner, who could “whip the world with a doughnut” but have resigned to a more sedentary but good life of taking care of my World War II Veteran, husband, and friend.
I wanted to attend the MOY Conference in Washington, D.C. in 2015. However, in order to do this, I needed to enlist the help of my children to take care of my husband while I was gone. As usual, they came through for me and I found myself on the airplane to Washington.
To my delight, we were invited to a cocktail party to get acquainted. Since high heels and standing long periods of time are not my friends anymore, I grabbed the first seat I could find. While enjoying a glass of wine, mothers from thirty eight states were walking around me. Never known for being shy, I started talking to them and this is what I learned.
I met Sarah from California who expressed her version of “faith.” She boldly delivered this amazing statement to me. “Believe it, act it, and live it.” Wow, if all of these ladies are this enlightening, maybe I better talk to another one.
Moving on, Pam from Georgia happened to have heard of my great grandfather who was in her state in the 1700’s and migrated from there to Texas. Shoot, I might be related but I can’t even ride a horse without falling off.
Next I saw a lovely lady from Hawaii with a sunshine smile. She explained that the Aspen trees, known for making paper due to their light color, soft texture, strong, and not readily flammable grew in Hawaii. Why didn’t I know this when I owned a printing company and used jillions of pieces of paper?
Margaret from Idaho encouraged me to pursue my own dreams. At age seventy seven, I am not sure what those dreams are. Probably not something I would put on Facebook. Then there was Laurel from Nevada. Maybe she can give me some advice about how to win some money when I try the nickel slots. Instead, she told me about her life of great faith in God, family, and Country and that God’s greatest work is done in the home. Wish I could have thought of that in between piles of diapers, a sink full of dirty dishes, and a baby crying just because she could!
I was soooo relieved to meet Stacy from Oklahoma. After all, Oklahoma was my mother’s home state and I knew good people came from there. I asked Stacy a big question. “What do you do different when it is a step-child you are raising?” She said “Raising a step-child is more than biological attachment. It is a frame of mind.” There, she did it. Now this is a flat out one-up-man-ship on me. More wine please.
Addison from Portland, Oregon ought to be a good one to ask for advice. After all, my daughter who also lives there says that Portland people are more European. Addison said, “Ask each child what legacy I will leave?” Oh dear. I think my brain is hurting now.
Then I met Leah from Texas who said she wanted her children to mirror her in a good way. I will put that piece of advice under the title “To figure out later.”
The talented Shauna from Utah not only raises children and is a great mom; but is an accomplished harp player. Now I am getting somewhere. I rocked my babies to sleep with one foot and played Beethoven on grandma’s piano with two hands and the other foot. Does that count?
Luckily I remembered that I had an extra-large, red T-shirt in my closet from a local college. It says in huge white letters: “JUST DO IT.” I obtained my first degree at age fifty five and my second degree at age seventy six. I guess I just did it.
Deanna G. Langheim
President, Illinois Association of American Mothers
Posted on Thu, April 14, 2016
by Connell Branan