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The sacrifices mothers make
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 As a kid (I was one once), I thought my mother's primary job was just to "shape me up." She always insisted that I behave appropriately. I also thought she believed my doing that would be a plus to her self-image.

Isn't it amazing what age and our own experiences teach us? After I became a mother, it didn't take long for me to understand that she never had time to worry about her self-image. She was focused on the next meal, hanging out the laundry, working in the garden, canning produce, sewing and mending clothes.

She never read a book on psychology. However, a deliberate change in her tone of voice let me know, without a doubt, when I was in trouble. She also could put that certain look on her face - and that glare in her eye would have made a warden look gentle.

There were times when I felt I was the most persecuted child in my class. Amazing, now I realize how many times I had new clothes and she didn't. I now understand that she went without many things so that I could have piano and clarinet lessons, cheerleading outfits. She drove me 16 miles every week to the library. I never thought then about the time or gas involved in that.

She always made me feel special when she cooked the food she knew I especially liked. Corn on the cob, macaroni and cheese (it didn't come in a box then), potato salad (there were no delis), catfish and chocolate pie were just a few of her specialties.

When I was sick, she was the doctor and the nurse. I grew up thinking Vicks VapoRub cures everything. (And guess what I used to raise three boys?) I couldn't understand why she was so excited when she learned she was going to be a grandmother. People have babies all the time. But in just a few days she had sewn a stack of infant clothes. And she still had several months left to knit and crochet blankets, sweaters, hats and booties.

I had to become a mother myself before I started to understand the many sacrifices she made, the sleep she lost, and the worry and prayers allotted to me. I thought she was a tough mom. Now I thank God that she was. God himself placed that heart of love inside of her.