Thursday, February 25, 2010

My Mom, ahead of her time


I have been thinking about some of the issues and ideas that I deal with daily in my job, either from my work or those of my coworkers. Ideas such as eat local, grow your own garden, know where your food comes from, breastfeed, exercise regularly, limit TV viewing, don't drink sugary drinks and eat fruits and vegetables. My whole division is dedicated to these issues. While none of these things are novel to me I have always chalked that up studying public health, but the more I reflect, I realize it is thanks to my mom.

My mom was the daughter of a farmer and had a green thumb- I think Matt stole those genes from the rest of us siblings- so we always had a garden and used home-made compost for fertilizer. I have vivid memories of carrying buckets of grossness behind the house to dump into the compost pile. Since my grandpa had cows most of the meet we ate growing up was various types of beef that came from the slaughter of his cows, so we knew where is came from.

Uncle Brian's wedding, mom's the one on the far right. This really is a great picture that captures so much family awkwardness all at once.

As for breastfeeding, one of my fondest memories as a child is leaning on moms shoulder and watching James, my younger brother, breastfeed. Breastfeeding was never a gross, inappropriate or something that should be covered up-except maybe at church- but was a natural part of life. The fact that James breastfed at all actually surprises me because he was premature and had to be in the hospital for a 21 days. Who knows what they fed him there and how hard mom probably had to work to get him breastfeeding.

I don't remember watching a lot of TV growing up. Of course, mom let me indulge in the PBS greats like Sesame Street, Today Special and Mr. Rogers but other than that I spent time doing other things like playing with friends, annoying my siblings or working. Work! You heard me right, I had to work. Each of us children had 'jobs' that were assigned by means of a carefully-crafted job chart. Much time was consumed by jobs. This was something I detested at the time, but since have been ever so grateful that my parents taught us kids to work.

In terms of nutrition we always had great balanced meals and drank juice, not pop. Even today I mainly drink water, milk and juice; I am not a fan of soda or pop as some people call it. Due to the fact that we had a huge garden we had lots of fruits and vegetables. A vegetable garden in the back yard and and orchard and berry patches in front.

Mom not only exercised but she took me with her. I remember spending many hours at the community pool playing by myself or with Adam in the shallow end while mom watched from her water aerobics class. Sunday walks were common and with multiple gardens there was lots of yard work.

All I have explained is really just a long way to say that my mom was ahead of her time. Today she would probably be termed a 'foodie', a hippie, a conservationist or a member of the slow food movement. However to me she was just mom, a really smart, great woman.


Cathy said...

I loved your post. Your mom was the best ever. I remember when I met Uncle Brian I used to LOVE going over to your house to hang out with your mom and your family.

By the way, what memories that wedding picture brings back.


Aunt Cathy

Elizabeth said...

breastfeeding totally sucks. I worship at the feet of any woman who did/does it. (which means I worship at my feet). But you really shouldnt limit your tv watching...because tv rules! (I have my priorities messed up dont i?)

e said...

A lovely tribute.

mike and chenoa said...

I wish I knew more about your mother. I wish your brother would share more memories of her, but what he does share is all great. One of the things I admire most about her is that she seemed to be such a "real" woman, if that makes sense.

Chris and Kristy said...

Reading this post made me think of the memories I have of your mom. She was always so inviting when I went over to your house. I loved the berry bushes out front and the yummy things she always made with them. I think of her often. She truly is an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing more about her!