She probably wouldn’t want you to know this, but today is quite a Significant Birthday for my mum, Lorna (Keay) Sedgwick. In honour of that – but without revealing the actual numerical value of the Significant Birthday – I thought I’d say a few words.
I’ve mentioned my mum many times before here at Meanwhile, at the Manse, and devoted a few posts (here and here and here and here and here, for instance) specifically to her and the kinds of things she had to deal with as a minister’s wife, mother of four and, later on in my family’s years here at the Manse (1964 to 1975), full-time high-school teacher. I have to tell you, though, that it is only since Raymond and I moved to the Manse a few months ago, in October 2013, and I took up a teaching position, that I have fully grown to appreciate, respect and in fact be in awe of what my mum accomplished back in those years of my childhood.
(We interrupt this reflection for a little gallery of photos of my mum at the Manse. You can click on any of the photos to enlarge:)
When I come home tired after a long day of teaching, I am fortunate enough, if Raymond is here, to have a warm reception, a tidy house, and plans for dinner already made. When my mum would come home after her long day of teaching (followed by grocery shopping for dinner at Kincaid Bros. IGA), she would find four kids asking her what was for dinner, and in all likelihood the breakfast dishes still waiting to be done. She would then make dinner (only to have us kids complain about it, as often as not, despite my father’s non-stop attempts to get us to appreciate what was put in front of us and the work my mum had put into making it), organize school lunches for the following day, wash and iron clothes, and dive into a mountain of school marking. And those were the evenings when she didn’t have to attend – or, dear lord, host here at the Manse – some church meeting or other.
I absolutely do not know how she did it. (Neither, I should add, does she.) But Mum: I salute you. And: happy birthday!