Mother’s Helper

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All children appear to want to be mother’s little helper, or teacher’s pet, don’t they? That is until they get older and usually the mother is having to insist on cleaning their room and picking up toys, thought today it is more like electronics scattered about. And it is hard to get their attention off a phone or I-pad.

It is fun to watch little ones attempt to dry dishes or fold clothes, even sweep. I had children in daycare who were ready to clean and organize. We seldom lost a puzzle piece of left a VCR tape unwound, they followed my lead. As times changed children did. They are not so anxious to hear no for an answer. Many children have a bratitude, and can be ungrateful, I used to think it was lack of parenting. But some children from certain environments and those with special need require more attention, and sometimes, the letters of the names of these diseases can be halted or at least leveled off or toned down with a little more effort and patience, and firmness and tone of voice.

With that said, I have a family story to tell of a lady in our family called Mae. When I met her she was older, going to baseball games and eventually have a stroke and dementia. It wasn’t  until many years later, after her death, that I learned of her story.

Her mother had died sometime around 1910, maybe even four or five years later, I never knew. Her father took her as a young girl to live with her grandmother up the road and left to look for work. Many of my ancestors were sharecroppers or worked in mills. While she was there, she also took care of her brother Dee, I never knew his real name either. Never met him. And her baby sister.

While she was there she was finding it difficult to live with a stingy old lady who didn’t want to or maybe didn’t have enough to feed them. So Mae took them and went home, she raised the children by herself in her own home and her father must have been able to provide. Instead of just being helper, she was running the house.

As an adult she would have loved to have been a nurse but had no formal education. It didn’t stop her from cooking for and caring for the sick, even when some would not go where flu or pneumonia was. She had two children, girls. One died a strange death, I read the obituary, her fever spiked to over 105, and she died at the hospital after multiple attempts to cool her off, she was about three. Mae never talked about it. He other daughter is now in her eighties.

The little sister died in a nursing  home at an old age, Dee drove until he was 93 and Mae left in 1997. She left a good story, that I haven’t forgotten. So if you have a mother’s helper be glad, keep in mind that chore are not always fun, but there are ways to make them go faster, and there’s always time for a good story. Rebecca Jones

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