You Do The Best You Can

This is my father, his mother and ‘Uncle Webb.’  I have no idea who Uncle Webb is. I have never met my father’s mother.  I know that her name was Daisy Florence and – by all accounts – she was a fiesty farm wife.  My Dad tells of how, when my Grandfather forbade her to leave the farm and removed the battery from their car so she couldn’t, she simply lifted the battery from the radio, hooked it up to the car and went anyway.  Hee.  She died giving birth to her third child – another boy – and was buried on my father’s seventh birthday….along with his baby brother.

This is my mother’s mother…..in the bloom of her teenage years.  She was the oldest of twelve children.  She left home at at early age as a bride, gave birth to three children and took them away from an abusive husband and father when it was difficult to do so.  She was divorced when it wasn’t the ‘thing to do.’  She said her father helped her find a home and a job and made her stand on her own two feet as a mother and provider and she would always be grateful to him for doing that.  She would marry again, have a fourth child, lose that husband to cancer, marry again to her soul mate, lose him to cancer and marry…yet again….only to lose HIM as well.  She was in her late nineties when she died.  She instilled in her children a devotion to family that is like no other.  They supported her and helped her live on her own until the day she died.  She was Mother, Aunt Mabel, Gram and GG.

This is my husband’s mother.  She was a military wife and mom.  She raised seven children while her husband served in the Marine Corp.  World War II, Korea and Viet Nam.  After two tours in ‘Nam she finally put her foot down and said ‘no more.’  Her husband continued to serve as a Corp recruiter until he retired and then they came home to Michigan.  She worked, went to school and saw her teenagers to adulthood and parenthood.  She lost her oldest daughter to a car accident. She was able to hold her very first great grandchild in her arms before passing away.  That child just turned 12.

This is my mother, my cousin and me.  My sister is also in this picture but hasn’t been born yet.  I love this picture because – even though you can’t see her face – you can get a real sense of who my mother is.  She is caring and loving.  It is her nature to look after other people.  Her children.  Her friend’s children. Her children’s friends. Her neice (who was also a child of divorce).  Her nephew. Her softball team.  Other people’s children.  People from her various jobs.  Her Mother.  Her siblings.  A nuturer.  That’s just who MY mother is.

And I am the mother of two rug rats who were born on the opposite side of the world to women I have never met.  One arrived by a Korean airline and the other by Russian court.  They are sports nuts and I am not.  I love to read and they do not.  Every single day we grapple with our differences and our boundaries and our lessons to one another.  Raising teens is not for the faint of heart.  But there is hope for a happy ending.  Just ask my sister.  She has raised two of her own.

And survived.

As I watch my stepdaughters parent their children and deal with the continuing parenting of mine, I am reminded of the other Mothers in my life.  Mothers who coped with stubborn farmer husbands, abuse and joy, long absences with no promises, nuturing of those around them…. 

I have learned only one thing.

You do the best that you can.

And that’s all you can.

Amen.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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4 Comments on “You Do The Best You Can”

  1. Mary Says:

    Amen is right! I loved this post!

  2. Darcy Says:

    AMEN is right!!! AMEN to YOU, Sistah!!!

  3. Randy Sue Says:

    Lynda – As usual you have outdone yourself with your writing. You are such an awesome writer and you spoke to my heart. Continue your wonderful work!

  4. Deb Nykyforchyn (cousin) Says:

    Beautiful tribute and a much needed word for Mom’s who live with guilt for not being perfect. We all make mistakes.


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