the graveyard shift

I'm up a little late tonight prepping the meat for tomorrow's dinner and mixing up biscuit dough. As I worked in the kitchen wearing stretchy pants, a comfy t-shirt, and an apron, I couldn't help thinking of my mother, who has spent countless nights in the kitchen graveyard shift.

I can't number the times she's spent in the kitchen at eleven at night mixing rolls for the next night's dinner, making chocolate pies for Dad to take to work, or baking a birthday cake. I can't list all the nights she's spent at her sewing machine, working until early morning hours to finish a dress, skirt, or blouse for me or my sisters, or the nights when the clock strikes midnight and she's still at the ironing board, making sure my dad and brother have white shirts for Sunday. Sometimes she's so tired she can hardly keep her eyes open, but so often she presses onward, determined that I have a first-day-of-school outfit or cinnamon rolls to give a teacher or a temple dress for my wedding.

She so frequently takes the graveyard shift not because she procrastinates or is lazy--quite the opposite. She's spent her day chaufferring me and my siblings, going to parent-teacher conferences, meeting with her counselors for her church calling, working to help support her family, caring for her elderly father, making dinner, and attending innumerable dance recitals and music concerts.

When I think of all she is and all she's done, I'm overwhelmed by her selflessness and kindness, her devotion to her husband and children. I hope that when I'm a mom I'll have the strength to take the graveyard shift when I need to, whether it be at the sewing machine, in the bathroom with a sick child, or in the basement wrapping presents for a birthday.

{circa March 2009}

Thank you, Mom, for all those nights you stayed up later than everyone--what a supreme expression of love.


emily said...

What a fitting and beautiful tribute! I really love this. Thanks for taking time to express these sentiments. I love you!

Susan said...

What a tender tribute. I can tell you, that as a mother, these loving feelings that come from years of being cared for by a fine mother, are most rewarding! Your mother has been on my mind today as well. She is the supreme example of a fine mother (and sister...and wife...and friend..and R.S. President...well, you get the picture). Last year, we spent Mother's Day together and how I wish we were closer in miles to spend it together whenever the mood hit. She has, indeed, spent a lifetime of service and sacrifice and become a finer, more Christlike person along the way. She's pretty much the daughter of the finest woman I know to a tee.

I love your sweet words, your dear mother and you!

jt said...

I love this.
I hope I can turn out to be half the woman and mother your mom is.
Not likely, but I can try.
Love you Wood(en) girls.

michelle said...

I love this as well.
The graveyard shift is one of the most difficult parts of being a mother, and you articulated it beautifully.
I admire your mother and am inspired by her, too!

Denise said...

Best. Mother's Day. Gift. Ever.

What a blessing it is to be your mom. I love you so much!

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