Special stories remember mothers and their love

This photo of Doris Rutledge was taken in the 1940s. She “taught me the wisdom of a lifetime. She had faith as strong steel and unrivaled common sense, a woman forged from the Great Depression, World War II, women’s lib, and free love,” wrote Doris’ daughter, Angeline Roles.

This photo was taken of Doris Rutledgeon her 50th anniversary. “She was guided by four simple values: faith, politeness, hope and undying love for everyone as they became her family,” wrote her daughter, Angeline Roles

Janet Elder Anderson “had ‘fine lady’ manners and raised us that way also!” wrote Janet’s daughter, Kris Potter.

Patricia Lawton holds her grandson Tyler in this photo from Patricia’s daughter, Angela Duarte. “She was my mother and through her love for me she showed me how to be his,” Angela wrote.

Susan McBee put together an un-prom party after her daughter, Shelly Alford, wasn’t asked to prom by the boy she had a crush on. “Mom taught me how to move past my disappointments, how to maintain my dignity and self-respect and how to have fun along the way!” Shelly wrote.

It’s not often that life seems like a complete story, linear in its narrative and unfurling in a smooth, continuous reel.

Instead, life often seems like a series of vignettes, beads gliding across a string that we appreciate most when looking back and seeing them gleam in a row. It’s in the moments that we live, and with the moments that we weave our stories.

And so we think of our moms — of that one particular moment in the car with the windows rolled down, of the 7th birthday party, the morning of the wedding, the Christmas morning, that one late night when she waited up.

Many of us have, hopefully, a whole story with our moms, but it’s in drawing up those specific moments, those crystalline memories, that we most know her and most love her. It’s those moments that define her as “mom” and define her as ours.

On Mother’s Day — and today is the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day as a national holiday — we often think, “I remember when my mom…” and the memories are made fresh and new. In honor of moms, we asked people to share those “I remember when my mom…” moments.


I remember when my mom…

...helped me navigate through my own fears of inadequacy the night I brought my son home from the hospital — the almost overwhelming realization that I was responsible for this amazing little person that I loved more than anything else in the world, the feeling of being completely inadequate and under-qualified to give him what he needed and deserved.

My mother came and stayed with me that night and she stayed up with me when I was too afraid to put him down to sleep in his bassinet and instead insisted on holding him so that I could make sure he was breathing.

She showed me through her quiet understanding and calmness that I was exactly what he needed, that I was the best qualified, completely adequate and perfectly capable.

She was my mother and through her love for me she showed me how to be his.

— Angela Duarte about her mom,

Patricia Lawton



I remember when my mom…

...told me I would get to see my brother after his open heart surgery. I was 9 and he was 7. I thought I was so grown up. She followed that up with, “He doesn’t look the same, so no matter what, you have to smile and say he looks great.”

My brother didn’t look great. He was in a wheelchair and had lost so much weight (he had always been skin and bones, but now he looked like a famine victim). I smiled anyway and said what my mom told me to say.

In that moment my mom taught me to be stronger than I thought I could be and to speak love even when I am scared.

— Bernadette Hendrickson about her mom, Karen Leppink



I remember when my mom…

...saved prom night for me when the boy I had a crush on crushed my heart by asking my best friend’s sister to prom instead of me. To help me rebound from the rejection, mom orchestrated an “un-prom” party for me and my best friend.

We invited all of our friends and associates who weren’t attending prom that year. We had an excellent turnout and enjoyed personalized pizzas, root beer floats, fun group games and movies.

Thanks to mom, not only was the party a big success, but later on I even scored dates among the young men who attended. By helping me with that un-prom party, mom taught me how to move past my disappointments, how to maintain my dignity and self-respect and how to have fun along the way!

— Shelly Alford about her mom, Susan McBee



I remember when my mom…

...listened in as a group of kids and I were sitting in the living room discussing what we wanted the Easter Bunny to bring us. One of the kids, Susie, told all of us sitting there that there was no such thing as the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus and that we were babies for believing in such things. Of course, most of us were upset and I think one of the younger kids almost started to cry.

We kept talking when all of a sudden my mom said, “Who’s looking in the window?” All of the kids didn’t see anything but my mom said we should go outside and check who was out there. When we all piled out the front door, there in the snow were rabbit tracks starting at the big front window and going all the way around the corner of the house. Boy, were we excited! Susie wasn’t so popular anymore.

It wasn’t until about 20 years later that I found out my mom created those tracks in the snow because she said all kids should believe in magic for as long as they can.

— Terry Torres about her mom, Roxann McCormick



I remember when my mom…

...had some people drop by our home near Palisade to see my dad, just as we finished supper. Our front door opened into our dining room and one of us kids had accidentally dumped over the gravy pitcher just as the people knocked on the door. I remember the lady seemed to be in Sunday dress and this was the middle of the week.

We all calmly sat at the table as the couple dropped something off for my dad. After they left my mom laughed and laughed and we joined in, thinking about what the people thought! Did they think that was how all our meals were, did they think we would scoop up the gravy and put it on our mashed potatoes and meat? We did none of that because my mom had “fine lady” manners and raised us that way also!

It was such a funny ending to a usually normal supper meal all together around the dinner table!

— Kris Potter about her mom,

Janet Elder Anderson



I remember when my mom…

... packed lunches for us when we were in elementary school. Mom was adamant that we kids ate healthy, even before eating healthy was cool.

I often sat next to a girl named Yvonne, who also brought a lunch from home. My wheat bread sandwiches and granola snack would often be accompanied by a cup of fresh, sliced fruit. Yvonne would open her lunch box, pull out a white bread sandwich, bag of chips or a candy bar and sigh.

“I wish my mom would pack fruit in my lunch,” she lamented one day.

When I got home that afternoon, I told Mom what Yvonne had said.

The next morning, as Mom handed me my lunch box, she smiled and winked.

“I made an extra fruit cup for Yvonne, but pretend it was by accident,” she said.

As usual, we sat down for lunch and I opened my lunch box, pulling out its contents.

“Whoops,” I said, holding up the second container of fresh fruit, “looks like Mom goofed and gave me one too many. Would you like it?” I asked Yvonne.

Her eyes big as saucers, and her grin ear to ear, she barely took a breath between bites of the sweet fruit.

Thanks, Mom, for “accidentally” giving me extra fruit cups a few more times that year. Yvonne never minded taking them off my hands, and I learned a lifelong lesson that a simple act of sharing can bring such joy.

— Tammy Gemaehlich, about her mom, Betty Ann Honeycutt

I remember when my mom…

...taught me the wisdom of a lifetime. She had faith as strong as steel and unrivaled common sense, a woman forged from the Great Depression, World War II, women’s lib, and free love.

She wore hats and gloves and wiggled into girdles. She taught her five children to dress for success and never limit dreams, but also to be realistic.

She taught us the joy in having a sense of humor. With her love of wine and cheese, she taught us a way to draw family and friends together. She instilled manners and placed a high value on common courtesy. She reminded us to always say “thank you” and “please” and the importance of a handwritten thank-you note.

She had an uncanny ability, from the first moment you entered her life, to make you feel as though you were the most cherished being ever. She has left behind a lifetime of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends, who always knew she had a sympathetic ear to listen, a warm hug to comfort and the true belief that her prayer would make it all better.

She was guided by four simple values: faith, politeness, hope and undying love for everyone as they became her family.

I lost my mom in late September and this is the first year of my life to celebrate Mother’s Day without her.

— Angeline Roles about her mom,

Doris Rutledge

I remember when my mom…

...took me and my best friend camping at Sequoia National Park in California when we were 12. My friend and I were sleeping in a tent and a brown bear came into our campsite during the night, rummaging for food. We slept through the whole thing as my mom watched the bear tear open the ice chest, praying that it would leave us alone. 

In the morning, she told us the bear ate all our bologna, cheese, peanut butter and snacks. She was our guardian angel. We enjoyed the rest of the trip unaffected by the event and had a great story to tell when we got home.

Mom made my childhood memorable and continues to enhance my life with her love and generosity.

— Barbara Smith about her mom,

Esther M. Smith

I remember when my mom…

...made my Easter very special. Sometimes I feel a little left out, being the only one that the Easter Bunny doesn’t deliver a basket for! I’m not a bad kid or anything, he just does not seem to remember I live in the same house as my husband and kids, and they all get Easter baskets.

I must have mentioned this to my mom because I came home from work and sure enough, the Easter Bunny had been to my house and left me an Easter basket. Not only did he leave me an Easter basket with wonderful presents in it, he also wrote me a really cute poem and hid Easter eggs for me to hunt.

I am the luckiest girl in the world — my momma knows the Easter Bunny on a very personal level!

— Melodee Bergin about her mom, Sharon


I remember when my mom…

...and I would take off almost every Friday after I got home from school and drive to Dinosaur to spend the weekend with my Aunt Barb. We would usually stay up late eating pickled pigs feet and cheese and crackers and I would listen to my aunt and mom tell stories about when the older kids were younger. It always made me laugh when they told such silly stories.

I just loved being with my mom no matter what we were doing. She was one of my favorite people in the whole world. She has been gone for almost 19 years, but I still love her just as much as ever.

— Georgina Bausch Goff about her mom, Laurelyn Bausch


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