I Wish My Kids Had Known My Mom Like I Did

I wish my kids had known her better, the woman I called Mom. I would like to have them remember how her hands flew over the piano keys, and see the line of piano students that came to the front door for lessons. 

I wish they knew how every day after school she waited for me in the kitchen. 

“Are you hungry?” she’d ask. And out would come just a little something to tide me till supper.  Supper came toward evening. Dinner came at noon. Don’t confuse them. 

“What did you learn?” 

I wish my children could…

The question was never rhetorical. She wanted me to give details, to paint each piece of my day so she could see its picture. She asked questions, probing, and repeating. I described smells, colors, and sounds. While her hands busied  with meal preparation, she interacted, listening and responding. She cared about my day, my life. 

I wish my children could hear the kind of hilarity we shared, the I-need-to-breathe sort of laughter that folded us in half. I wish they could see her pull out her ever ready white hanky from her apron pocket to wipe tears from her hazel eyes.

Children in one room schoolhouse

My three daughters sitting in the school house my Mom taught in.

Her voice, so familiar to me with its thrown-in-handed-down German words would sound foreign to them, but how I wish they could hear her pronounce something “verruckt,” confirming it “crazy.”

Before Mom married, she taught in a little one room schoolhouse. It’s part of a museum now where other little children can slide into smooth wooden desks and ponder what it must have been like. Her name, listed on a roster in the back of the school, proves how many other teachers managed a mix of grade one to eight jumbled together. 

I wish my children could picture, like I can, all five feet of her standing in the white clapboard building, next to a black chalkboard. I wish they could hear her teaching voice, as well as her sit-down-and-behave one. 

I wish my children could tip-toe through our quiet farm house at night and listen at her door, to hear her pray their names one by one kneeling by her bed.  

My children did get to meet my Mom, but didn’t know her like I did.

I wish they knew what it was like to sit in the back of our car in the freezing Kansas winter with my head pillowed against her fur collar after Wednesday night church.      

The Grandma my children knew forgot names and faces, where she was going and what she was doing. Her ready laugh came less frequently and without reason, like her tears. Her hazel eyes stared without recognition. 

What good am I?

Yet, in those days, a spark of clarity came now and then. 

“What good am I?” she asked me suddenly one day. The question shocked through the fog of dementia thick and sorrowful.    

In truth, my mom’s question stopped what I was doing, my hands paused in mid-air. I didn’t have an immediate answer. 

I am here because she carried me for a miserable nine months and birthed me by God’s design. Full of complications and risks, today the viability of her pregnancy would be questioned. Mine would be too. 

“What good am I?” she asked.

“… in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them…” Psalm 139:16 ESV

Mom is gone now for many years. 

Never can the beat of a heart be underestimated, nor the impact of one life on another. Not only did my Mom give me physical life, she perpetuated faith through her own. I was her student, not in the little schoolhouse, but in a farmhouse where she fried chicken and made beds, where she taught me the Bible and prayed. There she followed Jesus faithfully and used her lectern wisely. So, when does a mother’s value end? Never can life be underestimated, nor the impact of one life to another Click To Tweet

I thought for a moment, considering her question, “What good am I?” It hung like a cloud in her room with its hospital bed and one chair. I remember thinking she’d probably already forgotten the question. But I needed to answer, to frame it and speak it into the stale nursing home air. 

I bent down and wrapped my arms around her small frame. She felt so slight under my embrace, so frail. I whispered into her ear, “You are here for me to love you.”

That’s how my kids knew my mom. 

36 Replies

  1. Nancy E. Head Reply

    Such power in this writing, Sylvia. Every person has a purpose even when he or she doesn’t recognize it.

    We should be so thankful for our giving, loving parents who teach us that and many other things. God bless!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Nancy. It’s good to remember and be grateful. Happy Mother’s Day!

  2. Sue Kroeker Reply

    Oh, Sylvia, I needed my eyes washed out this morning! I’m on my way to the nursing home in a few minutes and just needed this. Love you, dear friend and your words of communication!

  3. Marilyn Krehbiel Reply

    OH, Dear Syl, How very precious!!!! How GOOD GOD is to have given us godly moms!!! Thanks for sharing these precious words!!! I SO LOVE the PICS!!!! HAPPY MOM’S DAY, SYL!!!!!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Marilyn, yes, we have much to be grateful for. There is always purpose. Thanks!

  4. Jaime Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! How blessed you were to have such a godly mother. The reminder to be on our knees praying was what I needed to read this morning.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Jaime. There couldn’t be a better mission or better place than on our knees. Thank you!

  5. Millie Reply

    April 12,2023
    My sweet Momma went Home. I loved this article. Maybe in the days, weeks, and years ahead, I will be able to write about her.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I do miss my mother, but I know I’ll see her again. I hope you are able to write about her someday. Thanks for reading about mine!

  6. Bob & Fritzie Strong Reply

    Yes, we wish our kids and grandkids could have known our Moms also! Bob’s mother was a faithful missionary in Chile for over 50 years along with Dad; Fritzie’s Mom was an inmigrant from Germany, got saved here as a young woman, went back to Germany to marry her fiancé after she led him to the Lord; came back to the US and settled in Philadelphia to have 6 kids. She was a prayer warrior! Thank you for that good article!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Bob and Fritzie for sharing a bit about your amazing heritage. There is so much to be grateful for, and so much to live for. Thanks for reading and responding, I appreciate it so much.

  7. Ann Newcomer Reply

    Loved this, Sylvia! So deep, poignant, & sweet!
    What an encouragement to me as I remember my dear mother & ponder the usefulness of my end days! ❤️

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Ann! I remember your beautiful mother! I understand that pondering, and often must remind myself there is purpose I may never know about. Thanks for reading and I appreciate the encouragement from your comment.

  8. Wendy R Cathcart Reply

    Thank you for these good words. My own mom died before we had to deal with elder care, but my MIL is in this twilight of life–and it is good for me to remember where she has come from and to love her during these difficult years.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Wendy for sharing a glimpse of your mom and yourself. Certainly the “twilight” years pose some deep struggles. I am grateful the post was encouraging. Thanks for taking the time to read and I loved hearing from you.

  9. Jeannie Waters Reply

    Oh, Sylvia, how I wish I could have known your mom. What an amazing lady she was. You must be a carbon copy. Thank you for reminding us in this beautiful post how precious it is when one person takes the time to love another.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Jeannie. Mom was talented and sweet through and through. I think my children got her genes. I am often quite sure those genes skipped a generation! Thanks so much for reading and commenting. Love hearing from you!

  10. Brenda Griswold Reply

    This brought tears to my eyes. You have such a blessed ability to put emotions into words. Thank you.

  11. J.D. Wininger Reply

    Apologies for my tardiness, but never saw this come into my Inbox my friend. What a touching tribute to a wonderful lady. I can see so much in her through you ma’am. Thank you for sharing this amazing lady with us.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      J. D. tardy? Impossible!! You are an encourager from top to bottom and I thank you again for reading and so very kindly contributing with your comment!

  12. Katherine Pasour Reply

    Oh, Sylvia, your beautiful message brought tears. Our mother stories are so similar, memories just overflowed as I read your poignant words. Thank you and wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Katherine. I’m so glad it brought sweet memories. Maybe they know each other now? Happy Mother’s Day.

  13. Rebecca Powell Reply

    This is a beautiful tribute to your amazing mother, Sylvia. Godly mothers are one of God’s greatest blessings in our lives. Happy Mother’s Day.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Yes, Rebecca, she was a blessing which continues for those of us still here. Happy Mother’s Day Rebecca. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  14. Yvonne Morgan Reply

    What a beautiful tribute to your mom. She sounds like a wonderful woman. Wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day Sylvia.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Yvonne. She was a wonderful woman. Blessings to you on Mother’s Day as well! Thanks for reading and I appreciate the response!

  15. Don Pahl Reply

    Powerful! Sylvia. Timely.
    Thank you!

  16. Debbie Wilson Reply

    Sylvia, so touching. My mother was only 48 when she died. But after seeing a movie called they shoot horses don’t they, I remember her questioning her value. She was sick the last two years of her life. How sad that in physical weakness the enemy whispers such lies.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Debbie, 48 seems so young. It must have been difficult. I think as we age, that question slips in easily. I am grateful God’s love remains steadfast in every stage of life. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your insight. May truth remain an anchor in every season!

  17. Linda Brucato Reply

    I’m in tears here. You were so blessed to have had a godly Mom. And your children are blessed to have YOU!

  18. Annie Yorty Reply

    This is a beautiful tribute and reminder of the lasting effect of mother love. Thanks!