Once a month my family gets together for potluck Sunday dinner at Mom’s. We’ve been doing this for over a year now. The first Sunday in October toward the end of our afternoon, Mom whipped this poem out of her pocket and said she’d written it the other night.
I used to be somebody
With lots of get up and go
But that get up and go
Already got up and went
Now I’m a nobody with years near spent,
So I go to Curves three times a week.
So that when the time comes—
(And the Lord’s so inclined)
At least I’ll go with my behind refined.
The ditty is funny and yet says a lot. It must be hard to see the years pass, the memory fade, the energy gone, and begin to feel as if at anytime the lights will go out. It must be hard to feel like the somebody you once were is gone.
My mother is somebody. One of my first memories is sitting on my mom’s lap at church. She would puff out her cheeks and I would pop them with my little hands. I’m the end of the line—the last of five and the only girl. Mom said the whole neighborhood rejoiced with her when I was born.
My mother is somebody. She sewed my clothes, Halloween costumes, dolls, and more. My brothers always said I was spoiled, and if I was, I think it was because my mother knew it was hard for me--the only girl. My brothers weren’t always nice, in fact, were hardly ever nice to their little sister, so Mom made up for it.
My mother is somebody. She never told me to stop being afraid when the monsters under the bed sent me scrambling out of bed and into my mom and dad’s bed in the next room. Out of all the moms in the neighborhood, our house was the place to be. We could play loudly. We could make messes as long as we cleaned up. We could sleep outside in the summers or make tents out of tables and chairs. We could toss all the cushions on the floor and play the ground is poison. We could climb trees and jump on the beds. We were allowed to be children and not grow up too fast.
My mother is somebody. Neighbors came and cast their votes in the patriotic striped booths set up temporarily in our living room. At other times that same room would have a quilt stretched the length and width of it while women gathered around, stitched and talked while I played beneath. Those quilts were made for newlyweds in the ward. At harvest time, the sticky syrupy smell of grape jelly and canned peaches filled the kitchen. Numerous cakes, breads, and whole meals were prepared in for new mothers in our church community and for the sick, or sad.
My mother is somebody. Once she visited an immigrant family and found them in bed in the middle of a cold winter day to keep warm because their heat had been shut off. It didn’t take long for her to fix that situation. My mother is somebody because she and our father managed to raise five children and give each of a sense of worth, values, and work ethic. But somehow Mom did it with ultimate patience and without ever (at least me) spanking. I was never grounded either, and didn’t even know what that was until some of my playmates got grounded. I never felt judged or berated or criticized.
My mother is somebody. She worked for years at the Orem Geneva Times. She wrote nearly every article they had in the days when everything had to be typed on a typewriter and then handset in the printing press. Sometimes when I was in the fifth grade and attending Spencer Elementary, I could walk home from school and see her behind the desk. She let me search through the coins in her desk drawer to add coins to my coin collection, replacing the coins with money from her purse. She served on boards, PTA, and councils, and in numerous callings in church, reliable to the core.
My mother is somebody. She quit the job she loved when Dad was diagnosed with cancer. And on the bad days when that cancer ravaged dad’s body, she took care of him. And on his good days, months and years, she was his best and closest companion. And in the end she took care of him until his eyes shut and never opened again. She was only fifty.
My mother is somebody. She left behind her grown children and first grandchildren to serve a mission for the Lord. She gained her own strength and learned that she too could learn and understand, and boldly teach the gospel she loved.
|Mom right after her mission. We met her in California where she met her grandson Trevor.|
My mother is somebody. After her mission, and on her own, she moved to a new home. Her door has always been a revolving one. One by one, she let those who needed a place to land, for however long, land with her. Her own aging mother spent a decade and again Mom took care of someone--this time her mother, who lived a long a lovely life and died in my mother's home at age 96. Mom's own grown children because of divorce or hardship sometimes needed a place too, and their children. Then those grandkids grew, and when life got hard or when grandkids were headed for school, or between jobs or dreams—again Mom’s and now Grandma’s place is the place to be.
|Grandma--Mom's mom (Somebody too)|
My mother is somebody. With so many somebodys she's helped along the way. I could go on and on about all she is. In October, I watched my two-year-old grandson cuddle next to his great-grandmother while she read him a story. To that little one, she is still somebody and always will be. If you are a somebody, or were a somebody, you can’t be a nobody, because no one ever is. I’m definitely a somebody because of my mother who is also a somebody and her mother was a somebody, too.
|Mom holding the son of her grandson (our son).|
|And here she is with all five of us.|