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Woster: Applaud moms magic on Mother's Day

Mother’s Day would be the perfect opportunity to make up for all those times we failed to applaud the magic of our mothers.

Terry Woster
Terry Woster
We are part of The Trust Project.

Whenever I lose something around the house, I ask Nancy to help find it.

Why do I do that? Because she’s a mother, has been for more than 50 years. Mothers know how to find things nobody else in the family can locate. Seriously. It’s a trait possessed by every mother I’ve ever known. In fact, somewhere I read that someone said, “Nothing is really lost until your mother can’t find it.’’

It's Mother’s Day weekend, and I’d like to pay tribute to all mothers who can find anything lost anywhere in the universe. If mothers weren’t so busy with family and outside jobs and a thousand other things, they’d be the perfect ones to send out in search of gold or diamonds or oil. They’d find it, too, mark my word.

The thing is, though, the mothers I know wouldn’t leave the family to go looking for a trivial stuff like gold. They’re too busy looking for the infant’s pacifier or the toddler’s Baby Shark music machine to worry about things the rest of the world considers precious.

The same way mothers have a knack for finding things the rest of us consider hopelessly lost, mothers also have their own ideas about what is precious in life. Their ideas usually have little to do with material wealth. I read a quote attributed to the actress Olivia Wilde that went, “If I wasn’t at work, I just wanted to stay home and party with my little man. And by ‘party,’ I mean, of course, endless rounds of ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider.’’’


Nancy will sing that song to her great-granddaughter all day if the child will sit still for it. Our daughter-in-law will sing it to that child all day, too, and she sings it in Lakota sometimes. No matter the language they use, what they’re doing is showing the little girl how important she is to them, where she fits on their list of priorities.

If the rest of us had our priorities set the way mothers do, it would be a much nicer world. Safer, too, more caring and sharing. That’s what I think.

One of the people on an episode of “The Golden Girls’’ said that if being a mother were easy, fathers would do it. Well, fathers do plenty, and maybe I’ll talk about that next month for Father’s Day. But there’s much truth to what was said in that sitcom, especially when it comes to seemingly simple tasks like feeding a family.

I’ve never been one to spend much time or effort on putting a meal on the table. Oh, sure. I can grill burgers and brats. I can do steaks, too, and people offer compliments, even though all I do is toss the meat on the grill and keep an eye on it while Nancy fixes a salad and makes up potatoes and desserts and whatever else we’re having.

The point is, when I cook, it’s simple stuff, done quickly, slapdash. Ask my kids. When their mom worked the evening shifts at the hospital, I generally made pancakes and hot dogs. I figured if they were hungry enough, they’d eat it.

Nancy considers it a failure if her meals don’t include all the food groups, done up in a tasty, pleasing-to-the-eye manner. She does serve leftovers, but even at those times, she works to make the meal look new and appetizing. Me, when I do leftovers, I toss the stuff on a plate and nuke it in the microwave for a minute or two.

Speaking of leftovers, the noted author and food writer, Calvin Trillin, is supposed to have said, “The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.’’

I’ll bet that line brings back memories for any kid who ever watched his mother whip up a meal from whatever was in the refrigerator. It was like watching a gifted magician in action. I doubt any of us applauded, did we?


Mother’s Day would be the perfect opportunity to make up for all those times we failed to applaud the magic of our mothers.

Related Topics: TERRY WOSTER
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