My mom was the oldest of 14 children, born at the end of the Great Depression on the Canadian prairies. She had to quit school at grade 8 [age 13] to look after her younger siblings and then got married at 19, beginning her own family a few years later. I was her firstborn. My dad operated a small mixed farm with a large garden on constant operating loans. We were not wealthy but always had food on the table. My mom managed the household of six children.

Top 10 things about my mother that I brag to my friends:

10. She reads, and not just romance novels but serious literature, science, and theology!

9. She was a leader in church and community when it was not acceptable for women to be leaders.

8. She pursued an education and a career in psychiatric care in mid-life.

7. She has stayed with my Dad on the farm even though it was not her ideal choice of lifestyle.

6. She stuck with her kids when they went through stuff that may have reflected bad on her parenting but it had nothing to do with that.

5. She lives more with less. She’s never had a lot of money, never spent it on herself, and always set some aside for special occasions and family trips and outings.

4. She listened to me rant when I was a teenager. Hmm maybe she still does.

3. She gave me freedom to be who I was even if it was not always what she was hoping for.

2. She named me Gareth [sword bearer] and predicted I would be a preacher [sword of the Spirit]. She was right.

1. She loves me.