By Alan Sorensen
by Alan Sorensen
The Havre Daily News
Friday, May 7
Its here: Mothers Day weekend.
I was raised by parents who survived all the pitfalls and hurdles that seem to fell marriages nowadays. I got the rough support of a grizzled father and the hugs of a warm and supportive mother. Neither was judgmental, but both were firm.
To those couples who are sticking it out today and raking in the dividends on the far side of marriages early shortfalls, congratulations. Were all better off for what you do.
As an east-end product, my childhood was further enhanced by the mothering of dozens of other neighborhood mothers.
But I also have to hand it to the single moms of today. Even though my kids call me Mom sometimes, I never gave them the tenderness that I got as a kid. Like all guys, I just smiled, said great scar material there or asked them what the other guy looked like and went about my business.
For the last 10 years of her life, my Mom was a single parent. None of us kids lived at home with her, but we still got the same comforting hugs we got as children when we came home with scraped knees and punctured egos.
It will have been three Rocky Boy Celebration camp days this Aug. 5 since Mom broke her hip and went into rehab at the Northern Montana Care Center on NMH fourth floor. That was before they started the Eden Alternative that provides, among other things, dogs in the residential wings.
She spent all but one weekend of the last seven months of her life in the care center. During those three short days, I learned how really amazing are the jobs done by RNs, LPNs, CNAs, therapists and other long-term care providers.
While an NMH fourth-floor resident, Mom also got to go on drives around town and out to the mountains on some of my brothers frequent (too frequent?) visits from Whitefish.
Mom never really liked dogs at all until my aunt in the old country became widowed and got a small lap dog. Mom visited Aunt Carrie in North Dakota and fell in love of the little critter.
I dont know exactly what became of that little mutt when Carrie died, but I think it was put to sleep and buried with her. All I remember from that time was trying to convince mom to bring it back to Havre because I knew what a difference it had made in her visits to Rolla.
I think she would have enjoyed having dogs visit her fourth-floor apartment.
Anyway, except for all those 3-handed pinochle games with Mom and Dad in high school and college (because I was so smart I didnt need to study), I never saw more of mom than I did after she got settled into the fourth-floor routine. I tried to make four visits each day and usually succeeded.
On those days when I only made three or even just two visits, I heard about it. On one such occasion, Mom was so upset, she told the certified nurse assistant that she was going to disinherit me and leave her money to the sweet young CNA.
It took about 20 minutes of the next visit to win Moms love back.
You know, the amazing thing about my visits to Mom was that I probably enjoyed them more than she did. I knew I couldnt make them in haste, especially after sister Carole had discovered that Mom loved strawberry ice cream. Every visit began with me running to the nurses station break-slash-meeting room to grab the pink pint of ice.
I had to be prepared for anything. While Mom often felt abandoned at the center, she never failed to cheer me when I arrived. The chill of watching her power to reason evaporate was offset by the humor with which she seemed to rediscover the simplest things.
Mom died on March 5, 1997, and I became an orphan at 48. But only for a moment. My sister gladly assumed the job of giving me the support Id grown accustomed to from Mom family rules.
Whats my fondest memory of Mothers Day? Dad and I slaving away over a coffee cake, from scratch, at sunrise, and taking it to Mom in bed.
Giving really is better than getting just ask any parent.