A Melancholy Mother’s Day

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking about my mom.

Eileen Broeker Circa 1940

She passed away over ten years ago, but recently she’s been on my mind a lot. (Maybe it’s my age.) I tell my grandchildren about her and show them pictures. They love the one here, but the five-year-old just can’t wrap his mind around this beautiful young woman being his grandmother’s mom.  Would they like her? Charm her like my own daughter did in a way I never could?  Probably.

I also wonder what she would think of them. How would she respond to Bella’s obsession with Goosebumps?  Mom loved horror novels (especially Stephen King), and I expect Bella would cajole my mom into reading a little R.L. Stine. Then, there is five-year-old Connor’s non-stop-chattering. He’d set his sights on her, and I have no doubt he’d succeed in winning her over to his side of anything and everything. (I really do worry about the girls in his future.  He’s cute, he knows it, and he knows how to flirt.)

Eileen Broeker Van Wie

Even more than wishing she’d met her youngest great grandchildren, however, I wonder about her stories. I look at the young woman in this picture and realize I didn’t know her. She’s probably not yet twenty in this picture, and I was born when she was thirty. I know very little about her life before she had a husband and six children, except that she had a younger brother who died in infancy and so was an only child. (As a mature adult, she would still cry about missing her baby brother.) I also know she adored her own mother and was devastated when she passed away—again, as a mature adult. Other than that, I know nothing about her life before us—and it saddens me that I didn’t ask these questions while she was still here to answer them. Who was she as a child or teenager? Who were her friends, what did she enjoy doing, what were her life dreams?  I never asked, and as a story-teller–as her daughter–I should have. And now it’s too late.

Eileen and Peter Van Wie – 50th Wedding Anniversary

So, this year, Mother’s Day feels a little melancholy to me.  For those of you whose mothers still live, spend a little time and ask about her life, what she wanted and did before you came into her world. I don’t think you’ll regret it.  And if you want to share your stories or pictures here, feel free. I loved your Valentine Day stories and I’d like to hear about your moms.

Meanwhile, for all the moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day.

Pat Keelyn


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