As Mother’s Day approaches, I think about my mother and her mother before her. I come from a family of strong women, although I was born into a family that prized men. Some of this was cultural, but most of the value system emanated from the fact that our lives centered around football.
Over time all of us in the Leachman clan realized that the fact that we were all female, with the exception of my father, was a blessing. The gender imbalance gave our family life balance, and it made my mother the real leader of our tribe.
My mother paid the bills and bought the houses. My mother chose the schools and the doctors. My mother planned and organized the moves. My mother counseled my father on his ambition and career path. My mother enforced discipline and set an expectation of excellence.
My mother was and is excellent, funny, warm, and steely. My mother (and her mother before her) are (and were) steel magnolias.
They held and welded their power without being confrontational or aggressive. They were always polite and gracious in their delivery of criticism. They were comforting in disappointment. They were shrewd and strategic in their ambitions for their family. They were dependable and present. They carried their own baskets, as we say in the South.
As I have aged, I have increasingly strived to be more like my mother. As a young girl I wanted to be anything but. Thank goodness some of us wise up with age! Thank goodness for mothers! Thank goodness for my mother,and her mother before her!