The Well Aging Fiddler: That Mom Who Sits Behind That Steering Wheel

May 10, 2019, 9:59 AM · On Easter Sunday I was visiting one of my grandchildren. His mom got up before anyone else in the house and placed Easter eggs all over the back yard. When my grandson got up he was jumping with excitement. We watched as he ran around the yard picking up the brightly colored eggs. He’d grab one, run to his mom, toss it in the basket she was holding, and then run away for more.

She laughed and said to me, “Is that what I am? Someone who just stands and holds a basket?”

I said, ‘”No. Not by a long shot.”

The Broadway musical, A Chorus Line, is about the people who work hard and seem invisible as they dance behind the stars. The documentary, Twenty Feet From Stardom, is about background singers who are amazing, but are seen as secondary in relation to the charismatic singers they support with their voices. There is a great documentary called, That Guy Who Was In That Thing, and another called, That Gal Who Was In That Thing, about actors in movies who we see all the time, but who remain nameless.

So, I think there should be a movie called, That Mom Who Sits Behind That Steering Wheel. Make it a film about all the moms who drive their children from soccer games, to violin lessons, to baseball games, to piano lessons, to dance classes, and on and on.


I mean, look - do you ever watch football or basketball on television? Do you remember those camera shots of the players on the bench who realize they are on television? Remember what they do all the time? The vast majority of them smile at the camera, wave and say, “Hi mom!”

Yes, the dads, spouses, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, foster parents and a host of others are the supporting cast as well. However, it’s the moms who tend to occupy the majority of seats in cars, benches, who sit on blankets during soccer games, who sit in auditoriums, and who wait in a lobby or on a sofa while a lesson happening.

Sunday, May 12 is Mother’s Day. Make sure you thank some moms. Mine isn’t around anymore. Two years ago, she said, “I’m aiming for 90, and that’s it!” She lived to her 90th birthday, had a great day, and ten days later, died in her sleep. On the way there she taught Kindergarten for over 40 years, had a television show in the 1950’s, called Romper Room, raised four kids, acted in community theater, wrote poetry, and played a violin. She was a force of nature. Way to go, mom!

So, I can’t thank her anymore, but I can thank a lot of other women. Thanks to the women who are showing their kids where doors to possible futures are located, and for giving the kids the opportunity to step through those doors. These women are not under any illusions about their kids. They know most of them won’t become concert violinists, football players, dancers, or soccer players. But that’s secondary to the experiences these opportunities create. They are giving their kids a sense of discipline, teamwork, successes, experience in handing defeat, and a sense of personal accomplishment. I don’t know anyone who regretted taking piano lessons. They may not have liked the practicing, but they look on experience with gratitude.

So, thanks to the moms.

Here’s to the parents who do their best to provide opportunities to their children. Here’s to those moms who give up weekends to attend basketball games, sit and listen to violin lessons, get up early to make breakfast and wrap birthday gifts. Here’s to those moms who hold hands, who offer an ear and Kleenex to a stressed out teenager. A thank you to the moms who have an adolescent child who is confused, angry, and sad all at once and doesn’t even know why they are that way. A big thank to the moms who watched their youngest walk out the door as an adult, and who wished them luck.

We all know that none of us get through any of this alone. So, if the opportunity is there – call your mom on Sunday, ok?

What’s your “mom” story? Oh, one more thing - The photo with this blog is my mom when she was Miss Carol on the television show, Romper Room, back in 1957 or 1958.


May 10, 2019 at 11:06 PM · "I don’t know anyone who regretted taking piano lessons." I don't, either. My mom, who passed in 1991, was the one who had the idea to enroll me in piano lessons when I was 7 y/o. She and Dad suspected that I had musical ability -- I was already listening to their classical music collection on my own every Saturday morning around this time.

If Mom were still with us, I would thank her again for getting me started this way. She and Dad probably didn't foresee that the violin muse would get hold of me early and I would switch to violin. But they weren't at all surprised that I did. I can still read treble and bass, but it's a little tough now to follow two staves at the same time. My piano skill is only the most basic -- I haven't touched a keyboard for a long time. So, please, don't anyone invite me to accompany a sing-along.

May 11, 2019 at 03:57 PM · Your mom was such a beauty!

May 12, 2019 at 02:09 PM · Photo caption contest entry:

"Can't you manage better than a 'C' in penmanship?"

May 13, 2019 at 10:37 AM · At last I have an international spot on which I can thank my Mum for putting me in touch with my inner musician. In the 1950's (aged 12) I mentioned to my Mum that my local Secondary school (in Liverpool, England) was forming an orchestra and violin lessons were on offer. 'Good' she replied 'Put your name down'. I was eventually made the first Leader and we went on to take First Prizes in the Regional Competitions. After leaving school Mum bought me my first 'real' quality finest English made violin dated 1930. I met my wife and gave up the violin, but Mum did not show any signs of regret. In 1994 I had a serious car accident and Mum again paid for my present German 1886 violin. It is that violin that helped my recovery and I still play and continue to improve. So you see My Mum had a sixth sense and it is because of that she is always fondly remembered each time I play the violin (named Mum, of course). She passed away 18th March 2004. Thank you Mum xx Stewart

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