I grew up in rural Kentucky. My parents had 5 of us kids and times were hard. I don’t mean the kind of hard that is having no tv, no allowance, I’m talking the kind of hard that is no electric for long periods of time, clothing that was either given to us or bought and handed down, no insurance = no dental visits, very very little food.
In truth had it not been for our summer garden we would have probably had to go without. Each night my mom made dads plate, then each of us a plate but she always acted like she wasn’t hungry at the time and would wash the dishes as we ate…. She never ever put her needs above ours. She didn’t know that I saw her as she gathered up our plates, scrape what little food left into one plate and eat those few bites. Sometimes she would have to lick the sauces or gravy to get something to eat.
My dad worked anywhere he could work to support us. It was the late 70s/ early 80s and in Harlan Co, Ky times were hard. Finding any kind of job was nearly impossible.
Our mom would clean houses, mow yards, anything to bring in money to feed us. Some of the people that she worked for would include lunch when she was there. Usually it was very small amounts but it would be her only food all day. And then she would come home and take care of 5 kids.
She would help us with homework. She wanted us to do better than she had. Her dad passed away when she was 16, she quit school the year or so before to help with him and to help her mother with her siblings. But she wanted us to finish school and go to college so we didn’t have to be like she and dad. She wanted her kids to not have to struggle to put food on our tables.
And then when I was 2 and a half she took me to the doctor because she felt my spleen was 3 times the size it should be. After a ton of biopsies and tests my mom sat there in the doctors office and was told that her youngest baby only had 4 to 6 months to live.
Hundreds of tests, treatments, operations and a massive amount of pain I survived. Now that I am a mom, I cannot fathom even a fraction of what she had to feel hearing and seeing her child nearly dying and predictions of how long her child would live. I look at my son and think of it and I cannot stop the tears from flowing.
My mother and I don’t always get along but she and I have walked through hell together and we made it. And she passed down the example of motherhood in beast mode. No one dares mess with her or our children.