Happy Mother’s Day
Today is Mother’s Day and I’d like to wish all of you moms out there a Happy Mother’s Day!
My mom, Sue, is a strong, intelligent, funny lady and I am proud to be her daughter. I thought it would be fun to interview her in honor of Mother’s Day. It was fun and even a little emotional chatting with her like this. I even learned some things I didn’t already know!
Who did you first tell (besides my dad, obviously) that you were pregnant?
Well, back then (1980), pregnancy tests couldn’t really be done until 2-3 months into the pregnancy. By the time I was tested, I was almost 3 months along. You had to go into the doctor’s office for the test and wait 2 days for the results. Several people at school (my mom was a middle school math teacher at the time) already knew I took the test. It was a Friday. Once I got the results I called your dad, of course. Then I told a bunch of people at school. By the time Monday rolled around everyone at school, including my students, knew.
What sorts of foods did you eat when you were pregnant?
I ate a lot of yogurt and grapefruit. I couldn’t get enough grapefruit! After you were born, I didn’t want to eat either for awhile.
How did finding out you had gestational diabetes change things?
At first it was actually a relief. At about 6 months into my pregnancy I knew something was wrong. I was totally exhausted. To the point that even lifting my arms was an effort. I also had a thirst that was just unquenchable. I couldn’t get enough water to drink. I was constantly thirsty. I know that now part of prenatal care is that there is a test done for gestational Diabetes. However, that was not the case back then.
When I was a teenager, I knew a kid that had Diabetes. It was quite serious and his symptoms always stuck in my head. While I was going through this exhaustion and thirst, I realized that my symptoms were the same as his. I finally looked it up in an encyclopedia and confirmed my symptoms were indications of Diabetes. I went into the doctor and was tested. It was confirmed and I was put on insulin. It was a relief to have it figured out, but also scary to think what would have happened if I hadn’t said anything.
When you found out I had Lupus, what was your reaction? How did that change the way you guys parented?
It was so scary. You had a normal physical the summer before you went into 6th grade. There was normal blood work done and they found some strange things. From that time until you were finally diagnosed, it was 6 long months. We kept taking you to different specialist at Children’s Hospital. At one point they sent us to Oncology, which was so upsetting. Finally someone thought to send us to the Rheumatology (the specialty for Autoimmune diseases) department. That doctor took one look at you and knew what it was. It was a relief to know what it was, but also scary because we didn’t know a ton about Lupus. Your cousin and aunt had it, so we knew what they were going through. However, we had also been told that the disease was so different for each person.
We tried to make sure it didn’t change things too much. You were 12 when you were diagnosed and we wanted to make sure that this didn’t change your childhood. We worried a lot, maybe more than we needed to sometimes. But we tried out best to not let on to you and keep things normal.
What was eating and cooking in your house like growing up?
Well, we didn’t have a lot of money so a “treat” was hot dogs or Pork n’ Beans. My dad had meat everyday, but we didn’t because it was too expensive. We also hardly ever had milk. Looking back, it’s no wonder I’ve had so many dental problems. It’s also probably why I love milk now.
We also canned a ton during the summer, everything from jam to vegetables.
We always ate dinner together as a family (my mom is one of 4 siblings). We were all taught at a young age to cook. I think I started cooking certain things when I was in 2nd grade. My mom taught music lessons in our home, so it was up to us kids to make dinner. We would alternate. Connie (my mom’s sister) and I would cook one night and Gene and Huston (her 2 brothers) would clean. Then we would switch.
How did being a teacher change or impact the way you raised me? What lessons did you learn?
Well, we waited 9 years to have you. Part of that was so that we could watch our friends and others and learn. Having a child is a huge commitment and we wanted to be ready. I’ve taught every grade from 5th to 12th, so it’s easy to see how what you do in the early years really impacts children and the adults they become down the road. I learned that consistency was key with discipline and to start that early. I saw some out of control kids and in some cases it was easy to understand why when I met the parents. The children were clearly the ones in charge.
Tell me what you did differently raising me than how you were raised.
Honestly, not much. My mom was consistent and I think we tried to be that way with you. One difference was that my mom would say “wait until your father gets home”, if we were all in big trouble. That’s one thing we never did with you. Each parent had equal say and power. If there was something either I or your dad felt needed to be dealt with at the time, that parent dealt with it.
Another difference was religion. Your dad and I were both raised Catholic at a time when it was shoved down our throats. We wanted to make sure that we let you find your own way when it came to religion and spirituality. Sometimes I wonder if that was right, if we should’ve provided more guidance. But it seemed to work out alright 🙂
What do you feel you learned about your mother in the process of raising me?
That there was a “method to her madness”. Even though she seemed strict at the time, I realize it was for a reason. All of us turned out pretty well. We all have a good work ethic and are contributors to society. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.
I also realize now how important it was that we had chores at an early age and that she forced us to get up early to practice the piano. I am grateful now that I have that skill. Every once in awhile I like to sit down and play the piano. I can do that because of her.
I’m so glad I did this interview with my mom. It made me appreciate even more all that she had to go through to have me and some of the struggles she and my dad faced raising me. It was also fun hearing more about her childhood.
This whole experience was a great reminder how lucky I am to have a good relationship with my mom and what an exceptional woman she is.
Happy Mother’s Day Mommy!