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Thoughts of mom on Mother’s Day

Sunday, of course is Mother’s Day.

It’s a time when we celebrate the impact mothers have on our lives and their unselfishness in taking care of their families.

When you sit back and think about it, mothers are probably the most proficient at multi-tasking. Who else can cook a meal, help you with homework and at the same time keep your younger siblings quiet. Mothers are educators, nurses, disciplinarians and criminal prosecutors rolled into one.

No one can get the truth out of you faster than mom. Dad may threaten, bluster and blow, but mom’s demeanor makes you drop your guard and ’fess up. My mother never spanked me — a reason some say that I’m the way I am — but she knew how to put a guilt trip on you that made you feel like the lowest scum on earth. She forced me to think about what I did, which was more painful than a whipping because I had to think about my transgression. I would have rather she spanked me.

My mother was born in France in a western region on the German border known as Alsace. The region was the source of conflict between Germany and France, and without going into history the region “changed” nationality several times. Mom was born after World War I when Alsace was French territory.

I know she didn’t have much of a childhood; her father died when she was young and her mother — my grandmother — had to work to keep a roof over their heads. They came to the U.S. in the 1930s and in 1940 mom joined the Free French Army and trained as a nurse. When she returned home from the war, she met and married my father. I came along, followed by my sister and my brother.

Mom worked hard to ensure we had the childhood she never had. Looking back I sometimes think she went overboard, but that’s a mother’s prerogative.

She and my father were active in our school and kept up with how we did, and although she worked, she made sure we did our homework and studied. She was always aware of what we were doing at school. If I misbehaved, that was the first subject discussed when she came home and I still don’t know she found out.

You would never call my mother a sports fan. Actually, she was not big on school sports. But when I ran track in high school and when my brother played baseball, she and dad were in the stands cheering us on, and she didn’t waste time bragging to the relatives about my success.

As we got older, mom began making the change from mother to mother-in-law and grandmother. She never rested until age finally got her to slow down, and even then she fought to stay busy.

Mom died in 2018 at the age of 95. I miss her. I miss our Sunday afternoon phone calls and the hard-earned wisdom she dispensed. I think about her a lot.

So this Sunday, be sure to visit your mother or give her a call. I sure wish I could call mine.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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