Today is Mother’s Day, prompting me to think of many things, including the fact that I love being a mother and consider it a privilege. I also thank God for the fact that I am blessed with a mother who loves me very much and a terrific mother-in-law who raised a wonderful son and has welcomed me like a daughter, despite my shortcomings.

I am truly thankful to the mothers of my friends, and to the mothers who raised the fine young men my daughters have welcomed into their lives. I consider our family blessed by all of them.

Today I am paying tribute to my own mother and to the others who do countless little things for their children, and continue to do these things even though they go unrecognized.

1960s Barbie with knit dress

This is one of the two Barbie dolls I had when I was a little girl. Despite having lost her lipstick (don’t we all?), she is in remarkably good shape considering that she is over 40, and especially considering that my other doll suffered the misfortune of having her nose bitten off. Don’t ask.

Note that this Barbie is wearing a hand-knitted dress, made by my mother.

Mom knit two dresses — the other was for my sister Marie, and was a saucy red off-the-shoulder number– from these patterns:
Two 1960s Barbie knit dresses

Everyone knows that Moms do thousands of little things for their children; some are so automatic and unknown to the other members of the family that they will never be recognized. A mother makes sure that her son washes behind his ears, that his hair doesn’t hang in his eyes, and that he wears sunscreen. She remembers to load up her purse with the snack that will keep him from being cranky at the grocery store, includes a wet wash cloth to take care of the sticky fingers and shopping cart germs, and throws a book in for good measure.

A mother reads to her daughters, and reads them like a book: she listens throughout the year to know exactly what they would be delighted to receive for gifts, and anticipates behaviour — good and bad — because she is tuned in to their moods and habits.

This Mommy radar never stops. Its range is impressive, all the way from noticing that children are looking feverish to recognizing that they have gifts they are shy about sharing, to helping them be everything that they can be and encouraging them to be good, kind and loving people.

If I ever doubted that my mother cared about the little things, I only had to listen to her voice in my head: the same voice that told me that a cold rinse would keep my hair shiny and that I should change my toothbrush frequently to avoid bacteria also reminded me to wipe up every surface in the kitchen to prevent pests, to avoid buying shoes that were the slightest bit uncomfortable, and that nothing was better for your clothes than to dry them on the line. All good advice that would stand me in good stead, and that I have, no doubt, passed on to my own daughters.

And here is further evidence that Mom cared about the really little things… she made more doll outfits from this book:

I960s Barbie with Mary Maxim Book

1960s Barbie patterns

She even made the socks. Little, tiny Barbie socks. She must have known that the socks would be lost, that our enjoyment of them would be fleeting. But she made them anyway, because that is exactly the kind of thing that mothers do, whether or not they knit.

Love you, Mom.