Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

May 12, 2013

It’s Mother’s Day!

Filed under: Childhood Memories,Family — Janice @ 11:06 am

Here it is Mother’s Day and my friends are blogging about it and everyone is posting their pictures of their mothers on Facebook. It is sweet and nice. I guess I should join the throng.

The trouble with the picture posting is, being the keeper of all the photos in our family, I can’t find THE photo. The one that really shows me and Mother as the Mother/Daughter team it should show. I have plenty of those pictures in my head. How do I get them moved to a digital format?

My sister went off to first grade when I was 3 and so it was just Mom and me together all day long for 3 years. I can “see” Mom teaching me during that time – even while she took care of things. I remember following her while she vacuumed, asking her how to spell words that I was writing. She might have missed a little bit of the teaching opportunity at that point because this was when I knew that the capitol E had to have 3 horizontal marks, but I thought that was just a minimum. Since I usually had lots of time, my beautiful capitol E’s were embellished with dozens of horizontal marks, resembling my drawings of combs.

I don’t know if we had a rocking chair in the living room or not. I don’t have any memories of a rocking chair there, but I do have one of those wonderful “feeling” memories with Mom cradling me and rocking me and singing to me in a chair in that room, probably trying to get me to take a nap and I was wide-eyed. Mom was good at rocking in any chair, though, I’ve seen her do it with the grandchildren, so there may not have been. Like I said, it is a feeling, I remember the warmth, the pressure, the comfort. And the singing, of course. Mom’s favorite lullaby was a Perry Como song Chi-Baba Chi-Baba. I don’t know when I learned that that was a “real” song… possibly when I worked alongside a Stardust format station in the 90s or when Mark and I started going to antique stores and I bought the sheet music. Read the comments under the video I linked. I apparently wasn’t the only kid raised with that lullaby. Perry doesn’t sing it as well as my mother…. she skips all the beginning part and jumps right in with Chi-Baba Chi-Baba.

Mother also read to me endlessly. I have a vivid memory of dragging my book up the hall to her to read to me again. What strikes me is I remember dragging the book. The book was one of the Little Golden books or the like, so imagine the size I must have been to hold it by my side, open, and have it dragging the floor. It was the story of the Wolf and the Seven Little Kids. That was my favorite fairy tale and mother read it to me over and over. I remember dragging the book up the short hall from our bedroom to Mom’s and Dad’s and her saying something like “You want me to read it to you again?” and sitting down on the side of her bed and reading it to me. I think this was in the daytime and I am not even sure I was old enough to talk much at that point. But she read to me. A LOT.

Mom let me cook. Again, this was when I was little, at most less than 5. Mom was cooking so I wanted to cook, too. She got me the chair to stand on, the bowl, the tools, and allowed me to combine whatever I wanted to combine. I recall torn up bread, milk, and pickles going into my mixture. I recall putting it out for Maisie, our collie, to eat. Maisie was not interested. I knew at that point there was more to cooking than just putting ANYTHING together. Somewhere along in there was when she ordered us a Betty Crocker kids’ cookbook, the kind you would mail off for from a flour sack. We then learned to make Roly-Polies (again, before I was 5, but Mackie was grown up at 7 or so). The world calls them Snickerdoodles, I believe, but this book – and therefore we have always – called them Roly-Polies.

The story Mother will probably not want me to tell, but it tells a lot about me, is how she let me be independent. Once we had moved to the country when I was 5, Mother would have to drive to town to get my sister at school from time-to-time. When I was happily playing with my plastic cowboys and horses and their barn made out of a book made into an A-frame, I did NOT want to be interrupted to run this errand. I was happy. Leave me alone. I like being HOME. And she let me. She sometimes would make that trip into town and back without me so that I could stay home and play. Yes, in modern times that would be called child abandonment. It would have been called that then, too, if I had set the house on fire, I suppose. But she would return in 20 or 30 minutes and I would still happily be on the living room floor rounding up the imaginary cows (my cowboys didn’t have any plastic cows).  I like that story because it shows that my desire to stay home and be by myself, happily playing alone, is not something I developed in response to anything in this world. It was there from the start.

I’ve written all these stories about an age in life most people can’t even remember. If I started in on the things Mother taught me once I started school, grew up, married, etc., we would be here all day long. She still teaches me things every day about how to live life. While I can laugh about the caricatures on TV or movies about overbearing, irritating, meddling mothers, I cannot to relate to them. I hate to even write a blog post like this because I know I was super lucky in getting the mother I got and I don’t want anyone to feel bad because they DIDN’T have a great mother, but maybe it will be instructive to someone who doesn’t have a kid yet. Teach, read, rock, comfort, sing, play, and let them be independent. That’s a pretty good foundation to work from. Thank you, Mama.

old box from Mackies house scanned 9 10 2011 007c


  1. What a wonderful mother you must have had if she had a hand in helping you to be the lovely person you are today with the photographic memory from 9 months of age. I’d like to meet her sometime.

    Comment by pat — May 12, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

  2. What a sweet, wonderful mom you have. Thank you for sharing her and the rest of your family with me! I love you all!

    Comment by sandy — May 13, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

  3. So sweet! And I learned things that even *I* didn’t know about you!

    Comment by Beth! — May 13, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

  4. I’m reading this again for the umpteenth time, and it makes me cry each time. I thank you for “it”.

    Comment by pat — June 4, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

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