From Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul

When a Mother Blows Out
75 Candles

She secretly hopes a tank of oxygen is one of her gifts.

Through the years she has hollered, said and prayed, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, grant me patience!” 1,245,187 times.

Her hands have hung diapers on pulley clotheslines, sterilized bottles, carried babies from the third-floor apartment, ironed sunsuits and proudly pushed baby buggies.

She has peeled more potatoes than six marines on K.P. duty.

Her hair has been set in steel curlers, permed, rinsed with Nestle’s coloring capsules, and styled in pageboys, the poodle look and the beehive hairdo; been permed again and turned silver.

The “parlor” was where she entertained company, the “pantry” held the groceries, the “icebox” held a pint of ice cream, and the “wringer washing machine” was hers to use on Tuesday.

She has earned her nursing degree through measles, chicken pox, mumps, pneumonia, polio, TB, fevers, stitches, flu, fractured arms and broken hearts.

At one time or another her closet held housedresses, feathered hats, white gloves, skirts with short hemlines and with long hemlines, pants suits, billowy dresses of chiffon, sheath dresses, a Sunday coat and the Christmas toys she ordered from the Sears catalog.

Her heart has known the ecstasy of a man’s love, the joy of children, the heartbreak of their mistakes, the warmth of life’s friendships, the celebration of weddings, the magnificent blessings of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Who can count the floors she scrubbed, the dinners she cooked, the birthday gifts she wrapped, the spelling words she listened to, the bedtime stories she read, the excuses she heard, the prayers she whispered to God each day?

Her arms have rocked generations of babies. Her hands have prepared countless “favorite” dishes. Her knees have knelt in prayer time and time again for those she loved. Her mouth has kissed owwies that hurt. Her back has bent to bathe dirty cowboys, pick up teens’ clothes, gather flowers from her garden and grow old.

She has journeyed through life with its tears and laughter, watching yesterday’s sunsets become tomorrow’s sunrises of hope and promise. Because of her and the man who took her hand, family life and love continue through the generations.

When a mother blows out 75 candles, blessed are they who surround her with their love.

Alice Collins
Submitted by Geraldine Doyle

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