The advantage of her working just six miles from home, and having both our kids’ schools even closer, is that it makes for a lot of quick trips. But those trips add up. In a typical day she’ll put 50 or more miles on the car after shuttling kids to school, kids to music lessons, kids to doctors, kids to karate or tennis lessons, kids to church youth events, kids to recitals, kids to concerts, kids to friends, etc., etc. Throw in her trips back to school to deliver the textbook or homework or saxophone that got left behind, and her commute to work and jaunts to the store and she probably racks up more miles each day than many a CCT bus driver.
If I was a gentleman, I’d say that she does so without complaining. But in the interest of full disclosure, I have to report that she does grouse from time to time — and who could blame her? When we took the plunge and decided to start a family almost two decades ago, she probably didn’t envision “taxi driver” as one of her primary roles. And I’m fully aware that her life is typical of moms not just in west Cobb, but in much of suburban America.
Yet those moments of disillusionment are the exception, not the rule. She usually embraces her role, and once the kids have left the nest (a day coming sooner than later), I’m sure she’ll pine for the days when she was running the kids here and there with scarcely a moment for herself.
As you have probably figured out by now, my wife’s life revolves around her family: her two kids, her two cats and her husband — and usually in that order. She does a great job of mothering the kids and the cats, KoKo and Charlie.
She has never missed a recital or a concert in all the kids’ years of piano (Lucy and Miles), cello (Lucy) and sax (Miles). She has sat through innumerable karate and tennis lessons, worked as a Sunday school teacher and “shepherd” at church, been the class “art mom” in elementary school, endured countless Cub Scout meetings and even suffered through a campout or two. She’s still serving as the treasurer for Miles’s old Cub Scout pack, even though he’s now graduated to the Boy Scouts.
Meanwhile, she rarely has ever raised her voice at kids beyond an occasional stern “LUCINDA!” to Lucy and a considerably more frequent “MILES KIRBY!!” to our son.
Her recurrent back issues sometimes leave her bedridden for days on end and have badly crimped her fondness for puttering in the garden. But she’s taken up swimming as of late to try and get a little bit of a workout. And although she’s never been one to cook elaborate meals, she can whip out melt-in-your-mouth mint brownies and even better chocolate fudge at the drop of a hat.
She’s always been good with numbers and apparently passed that gene on to Lucy, who’s proving to be quite the whiz at calculus at Harrison High, and who surely didn’t inherit that skill from her father.
And there are few things she — and we — enjoy more than climbing into her van (with her usually behind the wheel), not to ferry the kids somewhere, but to set off on long drives to the beach or mountains or to reconnect with far-flung family.
I feel thankful that I had the best mother that one could possibly have. And I’m confident that years from now Lucy and Miles will feel the same way about their mother — if they don’t already.
So to Fran, we wish a Happy Mother’s Day!
Joe Kirby is Editorial Page Editor of the Marietta Daily Journal and author of “The Bell Bomber Plant” and “The Lockheed Plant.”