SHARING and CARING…it’s what LIFE is all about!

Mothering: the Pleasing Punishment that Women Bear

Posted by on May 11, 2013 in Blog, Family, Memories | 0 comments

Ellie Irene Marskell
fresh out of
Salvation Army Training College
~ My mother ~

Several years ago—back in the mid 70s!—I borrowed a book from our local library in London, Ontario entitled, Most of Us are Mainly Mothers by Carol Bartholomew (1965)…a pleasantly semi-serious book on parenting.

From cover to cover, the author offered tantalizing ideas “for other mothers in the hope that they will be less frazzled and frantic.” A few suggestions were completely off the wall, but most of them made sense. For example: When packing a lunch, be sure to include something worthy of a trade-off. I’m not sure why that particular suggestion stayed with me over the years. Perhaps it was because at the time I was reading the book, I was packing lunches and those wagon wheel cookies certainly came in handy! They made the perfect bargaining tool!

I have no idea what percentage of the book title is true. The book was not expounding on the fact that every woman should be a mother. The purpose was to offer encouraging helps for those who were mothers, and my kids would be quick to tell you, I needed all the help I could get! Shakespeare called mothering “the pleasing punishment that women bear.” Interesting thought! I think Will hit the nail on the head!

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. Card companies love this day! From what I’ve read, it is the time of the year when Hallmark cards fly off the shelf. And those TV commercials…they get you every time!

And I remember my mother.

I was with my mom when she left this earth and went  to heaven with a smile on her face. I miss her and on occasion, have a dream about her. Are there moments when I wish she were alive so I could seek her advice? So I could cry on her shoulder or tell her I’m sorry for saying something hasty or hiding the truth from her? Yes! And I don’t think I’m alone in this. As human beings, we tend to gravitate toward someone we depend on, trust, love, someone we know will forgive us and love us, regardless of our shortcomings. In my case, it was my mother. (Not to exclude my husband, but he’s in another category of trusting, loving and depending on!)

Ellie (Ella) Irene Marskell Warford, a high-spirited, five-foot tall woman, full of energy and determination. Widowed at 60, she lived 81 years and four months. A Salvation Army officer in her single years, she served her Maker for all of her adult years and loved Him with a passion that still leaves me in awe. She often quoted Paul, The Apostle, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

A month before she died (January 8, 1989), she led a Bible study with the seniors in the nursing home where she had spent her last 2 years of life. She had called me the day before the study with her usual opening words, “Sorry to bother you, dear.” My reply was always the same, “You’re never a bother, Mom.” And then we’d talk. She quoted the verse she planned on using as the theme of her study: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3 KJV). A month later she was face to face with her Saviour.

Was my mother perfect? Good gracious, no! Did she make mistakes? Of course, and she would have been the first to admit them. She carried a heavy load most of my growing up years. Sometimes—perhaps in her estimation, all too often—she gave in to that load and struggled with what life had handed her. But am I proud of my mother despite, what she would call, her “flaws”? Absolutely! Do I miss her…well, this blog should answer that question.

Last fall I shared a posting about my trip to the Maritimes (Stepping Out of the Box). A life-long friend who knew my mother when he was a very little boy sent me a one-sentence email: Your mother would be very proud of you! That warmed my heart and I can only hope and pray that what Vic said is true.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Wish we could have our usual cup of tea together.












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