I have many ideas vying for attention when it comes to my relationship with my mother. I will share some of my memories with you. When I was two or three, mom was reading the story “Bambi” to my older sister, Kathryn, who would have been seven or eight. When it came to the part of Bambi’s mother being shot by the hunter, mom was concerned that Kathryn would be upset. She wasn’t, I was. Big tears were running down my cheeks. When asked why I was crying I said, I was crying for Bambi’s mother. I was likely crying for fear that something bad would happen to my own mommy. When I was school-aged, I was a very fussy eater. My mom was having a battle of wills with me over some horrid dish containing onions. It was lunch and she said I had to sit there until I ate it. I was very late for school. What I remember after that, is that mom often tried to hide onions in my food, but I was very certain that they were evil and would not eat them. My sister wouldn’t eat liver. My brothers didn’t eat most vegetables. I remember Mom cooking six different meals for us! Was it love or did she just give up?
Lela Clark holding brothers John and Gerald
Lela & Gordon Clark holding sister Kathryn
Clark Family 1954
When I was a teenager, the battle of the wills intensified about almost everything. Boys. Clothes. Life. Smoking. She would yell at me and I would yell right back. I often said hateful words about how I didn’t fit with this family, I hated her, etc. I am so sorry Mom for the way I treated you then. When I was ready to go to university, she sewed four or five magnificent outfits for me. They were very stylish and I loved those clothes. At the same time, in her own closet, the newest garment was over ten years old! I appreciate you Mom. Mom always took my side, even when I wasn’t right. She assumed that the other person must be in the wrong. She was always very loyal to our family. She was always very good with babies and sometimes good with little children. The battle of wills continued through many generations. When one of my nephews didn’t want to wear shoes, and she thought he should wear shoes, there was a great deal of screaming and crying… and usually she won. Over the years there are so many things that I have come to appreciate about Mom. She is a wonderful athlete as evidenced by all the trophies she won for curling and later for shuffleboard.
Lela doing a back bend
Some of Lela’s trophies
She had amazing flexibility. She could do many yoga poses such as the back bend and plow well into her seventies.
This costume won first prize
Lela Clark, my mom, is also one of the most creative people I have ever met. She loved to design and make costumes whether it was for us as children for Halloween or whether it was for herself and her team-mates for a curling bonspeil. When I was a teacher, I would often borrow her latest costumes to wear at Halloween. No pattern, just an idea, and voila…there it was. There are lots of painful memories I could write because that is how it is with mothers and daughters. But Sunday is Mothers’ Day and I will stick to the happy memories. I love you, Mom and I am grateful that you are my mother.