Some years ago, my Mother cut out an article (a syndicated column) from her local paper. She then photocopied it on plain white paper and saved it for many years. When she last visited, mom brought the usual pile of local “news” from Missoula Montana, and included this with the rest of the pages.
It was a piece by “Ann Landers” (aka Esther Lederer) titled; “Remember time spent with mom“. It featured a poem believed to be penned by Virginia Bass of El Cajon, California. As far as I can tell, this Ann Landers article was originally published back in July 18, 1998 and it would have appeared in papers all across the country (that featured Ann Landers’ syndicated column). It’s very moving, and I thought you’d appreciate it. Here’s how it reads…
Dear Ann Landers: I read this article by Virginia Bass of El Cajon, Calif., in the San Diego Union-Tribune and hope you have room for it in your column. – Faithful California Reader
Dear California: Thank you for sending it on. I found it very moving and am happy to share it with my readers. Here it is:
I was the caregiver to my mother and her twin. They lived to ages 95 and 96. Now I find myself on the other end of the scenario, which is difficult in a different way. I hope to be spirited and wear a smile for some time to come (I am 71) but intentionally prepare my children for times ahead by writing a poem. I gave each of my children (ages 45, 43, and 34) a copy and told them, “I mean it.”
To My Children
When I spill some food on my nice clean dress
Or maybe forget to tie my shoe,
Please be patient and perhaps reminisce
About the many hours I spent with you.
When I taught you how to eat with care,
Plus tying laces and your numbers, too,
Dressing yourself and combing your hair,
Those were precious hours spent with you.
So when I forget what I was about to say,
Just give me a minute — or maybe two.
It probably wasn’t important anyway,
And I would much rather listen just to you.
If I tell the story one more time,
And you know the ending through and through,
Please remember your first nursery rhyme
When I rehearsed it a hundred times with you.
When my legs are tired and it’s hard to stand
Or walk the steady pace that I would like to do,
Please take me carefully by my hand,
And guide me now as I so often did for you.
Special thanks to my mom for passing it along. 🙂 Publishing this piece makes it timeless, and hopefully many more people with read it, and share with those who need a (gentle) reminder. See below for the original copy from my own Mom. Time-stamped by stains… Annotated with love…