Fast Focus: 'What message do you have for your mom?' Loving and learning

May 11, 2014 

I would tell my mother, Marilynn Manke, thank you for all she has taught me and for the support she has given me.

My mom grew up on a wheat farm in the years following the Great Depression. People were independent in that era. They ate what they grew. They wore what they sewed. As an adult, she spent 30 years teaching sewing, cooking, health and family life to middle school and high school students. In retirement, she has spent years using the skills she spent her professional life teaching.

These days, there are a lot fewer people who are taking the time to learn to cook and sew. I can do both but I am not the accomplished professional my mother is.

What I did not learn as a child, she has faithfully taught me as an adult. My first attempt at contributing a pie to the church's annual pie social was less than spectacular. Having grown up on my mom's excellent homemade pies, I didn't want to wimp out and buy one. My mom came over weekly for a summer and we made a lot of pies until mine were almost as good as hers.

While many professions are recognized as heroic, sometimes the person who saves the day is the one who can skillfully remove four inches from the hem of a prom dress that is much too long 24 hours before the dance. Sometimes, compassion is making beautiful black concert dresses for middle school musicians who do not fit in adult clothes yet. Sometimes the coolest kid on the playground is the one who has a shirt his grandma made that is liberally adorned with Yoshi dinosaurs.

My kids can thin apricots and pick many flats of raspberries (so can I). It all tastes even better when you were part of harvesting it. Mom is happiest with dirt on her knees and garden gloves on her hands.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom. I love you. My kids love you. We are so much more for what you have invested in us. Have a wonderful day.

-- ALYSIA SCHWARZ, Richland

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