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Mike Creger: Oh mother, it's May again

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opinion Two Harbors, 55616
Lake County News Chronicle
(218) 834-2144 customer support
Two Harbors Minnesota 109 Waterfront Dr. 55616

I'm at that stage in my life when age doesn't seem to matter much any more. When you're, say, more than 40, it just means you're old and getting older.

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Rather than playing psychological games with mere numbers in your youthful folly, your body now says it all, loud and clear and with no hedging.

As I worked on my Mothers Day card this week I began thinking about when ages cross. A few years ago, I realized that I was at the age I could first remember my parents at, in their 30s.

This year, I'm roughly the same age my parents were when they made the biggest move of their life. They hauled eight kids out of the suburbs and moved them to a ramshackle farmhouse on 180 acres in southern Minnesota.

They said in later years that they "sort of" knew what they were doing.

I think of that and I freeze.

First of all, the greatest form of population control is in having eight children.

None of those eight children will ever come near to repeating their parents' feat. We'd rather our children didn't have to fight for their fair share of meals or wear hand-me-downs until they become fall-off-mes.

None of my seven siblings has more than three children. And none of their children seem all anxious to have big families either.

So I think of these two people, my dad had little farm experience while my mother grew up on one, with this wreck of kids.

My parents and I have one thing in common when it comes to our crossing of ages. At 43 we wanted to know where our next meal was coming from.

Of course, I'm thinking of choice. My parents could have wondered that quite literally, and with nine others to feed.

They had to learn about irrigation, raising a wild variety of crops and animals - all under Mom's tutelage or through those "back to the farm" books.

Or hard, costly lessons.

For Dad, this was done while maintaining a day job 50 miles away.

For Mom, it was while juggling eight ragamuffins, keeping us busy and out of trouble, while maintaining some sanity in the household.

I am such a softie by comparison.

And the fact that I haven't called my mother in - a while - makes me even a worse human being.

So I sit in awe every other night and wonder if I could have done what they did.

Doubtful.

Since it's Mothers Day Sunday, I though I'd think of all the things my mom can do that I can't.

She can smash a spider in a window sill with her bare hand.

She can cook anything, sew anything, grow anything, and make anything better.

She can telepathically know when a hand is reaching into a cookie jar.

Conversely, she can guide you when she's not even in the next room, or county, or state.

She can convince you that she has no favorite children, grandchildren or great grandchildren.

She can make you not want to pry too much about that.

She can tell you what matters in the end, what not to worry too much about.

And she can survive. Still on the farm. Dad gone. She was able to move there in 1973 with not much but a hope that her own children could get an upbringing like hers.

We can't do that either, but it's a generational thing more than a personality one.

Finally, especially when it comes to me, she can truly love unconditionally.

And she can do that across miles and through trials and trauma either as a raucous grade schooler, surly teen, lost adult, more lost adult, or one just coming into his own 40-year-old skin.

I bet she's not much different from your own mom.

Happy Mothers Day to all you mothers.

Mike is the editor of the News-Chronicle. You can reach him at 834-2141. Email mcreger@lcnewschronicle.com.

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