I don’t remember my teacher’s name and I certainly don’t remember much about what I learned, but I vividly recall my mother driving me each week to those lessons.
My mother sincerely wanted to make sure I grew up an accomplished young lady who could play the piano.
Good manners and a polite demeanor where other traits she felt were important.
I am afraid in many ways I let her down, despite her best efforts. I tried, but not hard enough, I realize now.
As I think back to those days, I appreciate the sacrifices and the efforts she made to give me what she considered all the advantages in life.
With the wisdom that can only come in looking back I realize how hard a lot of that was for her, what sacrifices she made that we never appreciated.
Money was always tight when I was growing up.
I know many times my mother went without the latest fashions so she could make sure her three children were properly dressed for church and school.
She always knew how to stretch a dollar, making meals from scratch and reinventing leftovers to tempt three youngsters and a hungry husband.
Her cooking was one of the delights of our life and she poured herself into every recipe she attempted and every dish she whipped up.
To make sure we had lessons and uniforms and costumes and all the extra-curricular activities was not a small task for her. She had to stretch my father’s paycheck to cover a lot of different needs.
She purchased a nice new piano for me to play.
We rarely got new furniture back then, so that must have been a major expenditure for my family.
Every Tuesday afternoon after school she would load up my younger brother and sister into our old Ford and drive us all over to the music teacher’s house, where she would sit for the time I had my lesson.
She would somehow entertain those two preschoolers with books and toys in the crowded car, waiting for me to finish and to drive me back home.
Mother was always asking me to practice, but I would shirk my duty.
My lack of musical ability deterred me, but never my mother.
Now, when I think about all she did for me, I wish I had tried harder.
I wish I had told her I loved her more often and let her know I appreciated her hard work and efforts.
This Mother’s Day marks almost a decade since my mother died.
Most of the year when she crosses my mind, I hear her sharing her advice or telling me how she thought I should behave.
I remember all the wonderful meals she cooked, pouring her love into the food she put on the table, but rarely speaking the words.
We were not a family who constantly showed affection, but we were always close in spirit and our feelings for each other were unshakable.
Our mother was the center of our family, the apex of our universe.
She was dependable, honest, hard-working and caring.
Her three children were her life’s work. She took her job seriously.
For those whose mothers are still living, Mother’s Day is a gift to be cherished, because it offers that one time each year to stop and really appreciate the job she does.
Mothers never stop. They never stop working, they never stop worrying, they never stop caring and they always love us no matter how we turn out.
Whether we can play the piano like a virtuoso or can only peck out a few bars of a familiar strain they continue to love us.
My mother’s favorite flowers were red roses. She loved the vibrant color and the smell of those rambling blossoms that grew along country fences and garden paths.
When I was young my father always got up early on Mother’s Day and went out and picked some ruby red blossoms for us to pin on our Sunday dresses and shirts, starched and pressed to perfection by our mother.
We would line up for him to pin them on us and then run to show our mother.
We would sit in a row in church, and I know my mother was proud of us, of her family.
Across the years I see those red roses and remember those sweet days and my wonderful mother.
Rebecca Johnston is managing editor of The Cherokee Tribune.