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Donna Barker

Getting to know Mom

With Mother’s Day just days away, I’ve been thinking about how I really didn’t know my mom very well. I knew about what she did, as a mom, but not so much what she felt, as a woman.

I knew my mom made wonderful meatloaf, created pie crusts from scratch and tore up loaves of bread for her homemade dressing at holidays. She knew how to do the cold water test to see if the fudge had cooked long enough to set up firmly, but not too firm. She hid medicine in pieces of fudge to get us kids to take our pills when we were sick. With six kids, she had mountains of laundry to do, which she did without any help from me.

So yes, I knew firsthand about her house cleaning and cooking and mothering skills, but I don’t know that I ever learned about my mom’s dreams, her disappointments, her life outside of me and my siblings. And that has been my loss. My mom has been gone for 22 years.

On Sunday, I came across an advertisement/questionnaire by the Dove chocolate company on daring to discover your mom as she really is, beyond what she does as a mom. It’s sort of like the First Person interviews we do at the Bureau County Republican. As I read the suggested questions, I couldn’t help but think how much fun it would be to have the opportunity to ask my mom those questions today.

• “What is usually your first thought when you wake up each day?”

• “What is usually your last thought before you go to sleep?”

• “Tell me something you want to do in the next five years?”

• “Describe a time you got into trouble?”

• “What is the nicest thing anyone has done for you?”

• “How am I like you?”

• “How am I different than you?”

When I finished reading those questions, my mind kept going to other things I would like to know from my mom ... What made you laugh the hardest? How did you keep going when you were dead tired? What things did you forget to tell me?

So in the coming days, I encourage Dads and kids to take advantage of this Mother’s Day and just have fun with the holiday. Let Mom, or your mom role models, be the center of attention for a while. Interview her. Let her shine as an individual, apart from how she shines as a mom. Let the kids discover the woman they call Mom, rather than just how good she cooks and cleans the house, even what jobs she may have outside the home.

Though I may not be able to ask my own mom those questions, I have decided I will answer those questions myself for my daughters. And I will ask the same questions of them in return. With a little effort, this could be a Mother’s Day to remember.

BCR Senior Staff Writer Donna Barker can be reached at dbarker@bcrnews.com.