Friday, May 10, 2013

In Honor of Mother's Day- Guest Post

*Blogger's note: Farmer Joe is in the house today...literally. It's raining again, and again, and again, and while that is not good for our unplanted crops, for his mother, Karma, it means a thoughtful tribute to a loving mom. Happy Mother's Day, early, to all you moms out there.

Here’s to you, Mom

Mother’s Day is nearly upon us again.  For a farm family, the timing of Mother’s Day (likely right in the middle of planting/spraying/sidedressing/haying/you-name-it) is wildly appropriate, because we treat the holiday just as we’ve treated our farm moms their whole life.  If it’s handy, and we’re not busy doing any of the aforementioned activities, and we thought about it ahead of time, we’ll stop for an hour and half and give mom half of our attention before we rush back to what we were doing before.  If we are too busy, we’ll celebrate it another time, maybe- woefully inadequate efforts in which Mom probably has to do much of the work herself to get it together.

I grew up as the oldest of four kids, all two years apart.  Dad and Grandpa were the real-deal livestock farmers- up and going at 5:30 am and working until dark or after much of the year.  I grew up wanting to go with Dad and Grandpa as soon as I was able to help out with whatever I could on the farm.  Mom was the person who made sure I had all of my schoolwork done, and made me go to things I didn’t want to go to when I could be doing “farm things”.  I had to go help with the grocery shopping because it was my job to push the grocery cart (at 6 or 7 years old) when she was the pushing the cart full of three other kids.  She always managed to have a meal on the table, kept our small house together, and was involved in all of the school, church, and 4-H activities: that was our family life.

Looking back now, this was in the mid-70’s to mid-80’s.  A young family of six trying to make a living on a small farm, in a small house, for little money and a lot of work.  Mom and Dad sacrificed a lot to get where they wanted to be for our family.  When we were little, I don’t remember hardly ever going anywhere- out to eat, out on the town, etc.  I remember one night being in Quincy after dark with all the streetlights and store signs.  One of the kids said, “This must be what Las Vegas looks like!”  Talk about na├»ve!  We didn’t “get out much,” but we appreciated what we had, even if we didn’t have what some others did- I never seemed to notice too much.  I especially didn’t notice the fact that Mom and Dad were working their tails off to earn and save to raise a family of four kids.  

Funny how you start to notice things about your own childhood when you have kids of your own.  Looking back, I see that throughout my childhood “Hero Worship” of my Dad and Grandpa and the life on the farm, I grossly under-appreciated my wonderful Mom for all that she did for not only us, but everyone around her.
Mom always made sure all of her kids felt special.  If one of us got a compliment for some achievement, she’d be sure to pipe up with how one of the other kids was good at some other thing.  This was annoying at the time if you were the one getting complimented, but now with four of my own, I can understand the whole “I’ve got three others that are pretty awesome, too!” pride mentality.

Mom always made sure that you treated everyone with respect- adults, other kids, pretty much anyone.  You didn’t have to like everyone, but you would treat them with the same respect you would expect yourself.  You were expected to behave yourself better than everyone else, but never to think you were “better than anyone else.”

Mom has always been a caretaker.  She has been one of God’s Angels for so many people of that community when they’ve gone through some illness, or don’t have any family close by.  She visits those in the nursing home, stops by to visit an elderly person living alone, or drives someone to their doctor appointment- All this while helping out my sisters and their tribes of four kids as well!   

Always so giving.

In October of last year, Mom started to not feel well.  She couldn’t eat anything, felt sick, and just wasn’t herself.  In December we got our cozy little perfect world rocked with the news that she has stomach cancer.  As usual, Mom was the strongest voice of courage, faith in God, positivity and confidence that she could be.  As my sisters and brother talked amongst ourselves over that next few days, I noticed all of Mom’s wonderful qualities in my brother, sisters, and myself.  We were encouraging and strong because that’s what Mom would be for someone else.  Throughout the treatments, my sisters have been absolute rocks for the entire family- going to treatments and Dr. appointments with Mom, taking care of our older relatives, which Mom was doing before, and generally just getting things done, all while taking care of their own families.  Just like their Momma taught ‘em.  

My brother has worked to pick up as much of the farm load that he can while Dad helps take care of Mom, and has a caring, giving heart like no other.   As the only member of the family “outside the compound” I’ve felt pretty helpless throughout the ordeal so far, but just like Mom, I’ll tell you how proud I am of the rest of my family for all of the things they are doing so well!

So this Mother’s Day, I’ve realized that a card or flowers or some trinket just doesn’t do justice to what my mom means to me.  The real gift to Mom is reflecting on to others what she has given to all of us- in our character, our giftedness, and our strength in the face of adversity.  So here’s to you, Mom!  We know that we make you proud (you tell everyone!)- it’s because you’ve taught us well!  Love you!


  1. What a great tribute to your mom Joe! Your mom is an amazing lady. A great example to all!

  2. Your mother is such an inspiration for many of us! Great job with the post!! Thank you for sharing it!
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