On this Mother’s Day, I take a day off from baseball to reflect on my wonderful mother, Reba Bladh. Though 99% of the time, this blog is about Dodger baseball, there are moments when I deviate from the toy department of life to more important topics. Mom is definitely at the top of the list.
|My mother, Nurses Training Graduation, 1951|
She drove me to my ballgames and all the practices. She said words of encouragement to me when I got cut from a squad or I performed badly. Though she really didn’t care and knew next to nothing about the Dodgers, Lakers, Rams or Kings, she tried to talk to me about them at the breakfast table before school.
She knew the arts were important and she signed me up for theatre and local plays, made me take piano lessons and drove me (and my siblings) to our practices, rehearsals, recitals and performances. She pushed me to practice and better my talents in the arts.
She taught us what work ethic was all about. We didn’t get a pass from chores and yard work assignments. She critiqued our work and never allowed us to slack off. Beds were to be made, rooms to be cleaned, grass mowed, leaves raked, dishes washed, the dinner table set. Managing a family of 9 required organization and coordination. She did it with a strict regimen of a drill sergeant but somehow she did it all with a nurturing love.
|1968 Family photo|
There wasn’t an ailment she couldn’t heal, nor a garment she couldn’t mend. She put her career as a registered nurse on hold while she raised us, and then when the youngest were old enough to fend for themselves, she returned to work.
When I was 14 years old, playing on a baseball team that was made up of guys that were 3-4 years older than me. The coach said he didn’t have uniform pants that were my size, so I’d have to sit out. No big deal to him. One less bench player to deal with. Well, mom, knowing my extreme disappointment, got behind the sewing machine and surprised me with perfectly matching pants that she sewed from scratch. She then drove me to South Gate for the tournament where they were playing. I had already given up hope of participating in that tournament.
To this day, whenever I receive a phone call from her, I get to hear how wonderful I am over and over even though I certainly don’t deserve it. She gives of her time, even in her 83rd year on this earth. Donating days to charitable organizations and causes. Meals to those in need, visits to those that are lonely, though she certainly would fall in that category, having lost dad last year after his prolonged illness.
|1979, Family photo|
Her 40+ grandchildren and dozens of great grandchildren receive a card and cash gift on every birthday. She never misses one and she certainly isn't in a financial position to be giving out dozens of gifts, but she does so anyway.
|Mom, assisting in giving my 1 year old son, Evan Jr., his first haircut, 1990|
As I visited one of my childhood friends this past year. He reflected about my mom. Saying that our home was always a safe and comforting place to visit. He reminded me of things I had forgotten. Fresh baked home made bread. My mom always singing in the kitchen. He emailed me later and said “she was always baking and singing and taking care of us all. As I look back, knowing what I know now, she was a very Godly woman.”
I failed to talk about her faith, and it certainly is her strongest feature. Family prayer was something she insisted we engage in. The Golden Rule was constantly recited to each of us and something she undoubtedly lived by. Scripture study was engrained in our family at a young age, and she lived by that word too. Mom’s major concern in this life is that all of her children are with her again in heaven...and I’m fairly certain that she’s gonna make it there, that’s for sure.
|My mother posing with my daughter Angela, at her wedding in 2010.|
So on a day when ballplayers break out a pink bat in memory of their moms (and for breast cancer). I break out the pink pen. Thank you mom, for all you have done to sacrifice for us. You gave us all a wonderful life. Never did a day pass without you telling us that we were loved. You didn't have to say it, because your actions were as strong as your words. But it was nice to hear it too.
I love you, mom. Happy Mother's Day!
I love you, mom. Happy Mother's Day!
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