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Today is a day we celebrate our mothers, the person who gave us life, but did so much more than that. I have often said I grew up like Leave it to Beaver. My Mom was June Cleaver and I was the Beaver, with my sister the more responsible Wally, and my Father the stern Ward. My Mother made sure we were taken care of every day, but more than that, she made us feel loved. She was a wonderful role model for my sister and me on how to be a mom.

Growing up that way, I just assumed every family was the same. We had a spotlessly clean house, a hot meal on the table every night with a meat, starch, vegetable and salad, and we ate at the dinner table every night as a family. Our clothes were washed, ironed and put up every week, and (I hate to admit this) she cleaned my room every week and made my bed daily. She devoted her life to taking care of my sister and me and our father, and she did this selflessly.

As we got older, she was involved as a room mother at school and eventually was president of the Mother’s Club (a precursor to PTA). She was our Girl Scout leader and supported us in everything we wanted to do. I was curious about a lot of things and a voracious reader. My mother allowed me to join a whole host of monthly subscription services from book of the month, to cheese of the month, craft of the month and even a rose program.

Holidays were always special and we spent them with family.

Our family made (and makes) a big deal out of birthdays, Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. Family barbeques and picnics and family vacations were a given.

To say the least, I was blessed! My mother personified love and we made so many memories.

Growing up, we moved a lot following my father’s job. As kids, we thought it was an adventure until we got into high school—then it wasn’t quite as fun. Although she never complained, I think it was hard on my mom to leave her family and lifelong friends in St. Louis as often as we did, but she made friends wherever we went. My mom was a people person and everyone loved her.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that not all families were like ours. Not only did we have great parents, but a supportive family unit with two sets of loving grandparents, and a small, but devoted set of aunts, uncles and cousins. My maternal grandmother was the hub of that side of the family and she was another excellent role model for all of us. Huge family gatherings occurred at their house with a great deal of regularity and the food, laughter and love flowed. My paternal grandmother had a little tougher life, having to work outside the home to make ends meet, but she was there for my sister and me. I didn’t know she worked for many years. We were surrounded by love.

When my sister and I had children, my mom kicked into high gear as a fabulous grandmother.

She loved our kids and they loved her back.

It was a hard blow when she got sick with cancer and after a long but courageous battle died back in 2006. It is hard to believe that she has been gone for 13 years. I miss her every day and wish she could have been with us longer. But she left behind a legacy of love and we cherish all the many memories we have. Happy Mother’s Day Mom and thanks for all you did.

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