When I close my eyes on a summer afternoon, I can see my mother sewing up a softball. It isn’t surprising that Mom would interrupt some busy portion of her life so that she could tend to idle afternoon games of children. Mom loved baseball, I thought then. Now I understand she loved us.
When I close my eyes on a summer afternoon, I can see my mother sewing up a softball.
A warm breeze usually blows the memory back to me. Mom is wearing an apron, because she would have been completing some other household chore — a task she delayed upon learning that the neighborhood game was placed in jeopardy by a few faulty stitches. The apron held the softball in her lap as she sewed together the seam. Then she smiled as she handed me or one of my siblings what she had repaired, and sent us running back to the ball field.
It isn’t surprising that Mom would interrupt some busy portion of her life so that she could tend to idle afternoon games of children. She stopped whatever she was doing to use a knitting needle to help her string leather laces back through a broken baseball glove, as well.
Mom loved baseball, I thought then. Now I understand she loved us.
The sewing of a softball seems a small thing upon which to build a memory, and maybe it is surprising that it comes back to me so often and so vividly. But the life of a mom is filled with a multitude of minor and mundane tasks that, when completed with love and gathered collectively, become a rather large blessing by the time a family is grown.
My mother darned socks and patched jeans.
She read stories to sons and daughters who couldn’t yet read for themselves, and she patiently played board games with children who had not yet learned all the rules.
She made soup for sick family members, even when she was ill herself.
Mom baked cookies for school functions, sometimes — entirely by mistake — when she was told about the events only the night before they occurred.
She made meals and never tired of answering, “Your eyes work as well as mine,” when we stepped beside her in the kitchen to ask her, “What’s for dinner,” while we were staring at it.
Mom crocheted the sort of doily things — to put on family furniture — that really are the memory of my sister. I just remember that my mother worked on such girlie things at night while the family was watching situation comedies or variety shows on television.
So, while I can see my mother clearly sewing up a softball, I also can see her moving a piece on a Parcheesi board, standing over a soup pot, and arranging sweet treats carefully in a box late at night so when I took the cookies to class the next morning, they wouldn’t embarrass the family.
Family was everything to my mother. It’s difficult to conjure up a memory of her doing anything that wasn’t done for her family. Even the most memorable of her own interests — reading and religion — were shared with the family. She made sure there were plenty of volumes in the house to encourage the reading of youngsters and she arranged her ducks in a reverent line when she brought them to church.
I can see my mother reading one of those books — the Good Book or a good novel.
It’s a pleasant memory, one that still gives me a feeling of security.
I still get the feeling she’d turn over the corner of a page if I brought her a softball with the cover knocked off it.
Contact Gary Brown at email@example.com.