Sunday, May 8, 2011
THE DOBBINS FAMILY - 1963
This is the family in which I grew up. My dad, Scott, was a traditional husband of the mid-20th century – a family breadwinner. My mother, Virginia, was a traditional housewife – a stay-at-home mother. I was the oldest child, my sister was two years younger than I was, and my “little” brother was born 14 years after I was. When I think of my mother on Mother’s Day it is always in this setting.
Mother was a nurturer and she had a lot of practice, having had four siblings younger than she was. She had a good heart and a kind nature. We never heard gossip or bad words come out of her mouth. She loved kids – her own and all our little neighborhood and school friends who were always welcome at our house for meals on short notice and for sleepovers.
From our earliest days Mother always told us that her dream had been to have two little brown-eyed daughters, one with curly brown hair and the other with straight blond hair – and she said she was the luckiest person in the world because that is what she got!
Ginnie Lou and I grew up believing that we were special. She was a hands-on mom. She was always a room-mother at our schools. She took us to the library weekly and read books and poetry to us. She bought us books on how to draw; she saw to it that we both started violin lessons by the time we were five. She provided us with lots of games, all educational. Our jigsaw puzzles were of the United States. We had playing cards with authors on them. We had books of dog breeds and horse breeds. We had a good set of child-friendly Compton’s Encyclopedias. She encouraged us to memorize the capitals of all the States and lots of Bible verses.
As we grew older she encouraged us to take classes in school that would prepare us for college if we chose that direction and also to take some vocational classes in case we chose to go to work after high school. She set high ethical standards for our behavior and high scholastic standards for our schooling. And when we made mistakes in judgment (and we did, sometimes) she put us on restriction without making us feel that we were incorrigible.
Because of the disparity in ages between us and my little brother, my sis and I were already out on our own while Steve was being raised. But he and mother were very close and mother always told him he was the best thing that had ever happened to her. And he was.
Mother died after heart surgery in 1982 at the age of 71. Since then I have often reflected on how much of an influence my mother had on my life. My sis and I both agreed that rarely was there a day when we weren’t reminded of our mother. She’s been gone for so many years, yet I am just amazed at how present she still is in my life.
After she died and we were cleaning out her apartment we found a note from her that said, “Just in case I don’t make it, I want you kids to know that I loved being your mother.” So today, on this Mother’s Day, I want to share that I sure loved having her for my mom, too. We three Dobbins kids were very, very lucky to have such a special mother.
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, 2011