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Moms are what shape us

As Mother’s day approaches, it brings back so many memories of when I was a child, and when I was a young mother.

Growing up was not always fun.  But, as kids that is what we always think until we become adults.  

I came from a middle class family that  worked hard, made sure we had food on the table and roof over our heads. We took a few vacations but not always. We were always taught to work hard for what you want.   

My mom worked hard and was always there for us.  Mom didn’t wait on us hand and foot.  We had to do the dishes after supper.  

I remember one time we were fighting about doing the dishes, and my mom took them all out of the cupboard and made us wash them by hand.  I can tell you we never did that again.  

As kids, we also did the cleaning and laundry.  Both of our parents worked, so we all chipped in and helped out even if we didn’t want to. We were prepared for the real world in doing all that we did. These responsibilities didn’t keep us from doing “kid” things. We played all the sports and did all we wanted in school.

I learned a lot of my cooking things from my mom.  My mom was strict but kind.  We could talk her into anything.  

Mom was a people pleaser and worked extra hard to help everyone.  She still does to this day.  We don’t live close by each other but I know there has been several times I told her I needed her and she dropped everything and came.  She is such a great mom.

Becoming mom for the first time in 1994 was the scariest thing I ever did.  At least, that is what I thought at the time.  I didn’t have my family near me at the time, so I felt a little like we were doing it on our own.  

Back then, you had to plan ahead to come for a visit. My mom lived in Maine and that was way too far away.  

I learned much of my “mom skills” from growing up with such a big family.  I was always babysitting and we always had babies around. So when I had to do it for myself I just jumped all in.  

Did I make mistakes?  You bet I did. But no one was hurt and laughed at it some. We also cried.  Nothing prepares you for that day when they put your baby in your arms for the first time.  It has never been the same.

Your child will always be your baby, even after they are grown.

Our second child showed up in 1996.  I wanted boys and that is what I got.  I know how to be rough and tough.  I was a tomboy growing up, so I know how to do that stuff. 

I think if I would have had a girl, she would be just as tough I am sure.  However, if God would have given me a “princess,” I wouldn’t have had a clue, but would have learned along the way.  

Moms are always your biggest cheerleader and your biggest supporter.  We can be direct and harsh at times with the advice, but it is because most of the times we have been through what our children are going through and we don’t want them to make the same mistakes we did. 

It is funny how you can raise two kids the exact same way in the same household and they turn out totally different. I know that happens in all families.  

As I look back, I see the hard-headed one takes after me.  He had to have the last word, and would argue until he was blue in the face.  

However, the other wasn’t that way at all. All you had to say was. “I am disappointed in this,” and he would stop and we could talk it out most of the time.  

Through all of this, it  made them the strong men they are today.

We have always been a very close-knit family and always will be.  We are there for our boys, no matter what. They do things for me whether they want to or not.  

I am blessed that I have taught my boys to respect their elders, be kind to others and help when they see something that needs to get done.  They are not lazy by any means.

I thank the good Lord that I can count on them at anytime.  It makes a mom proud.

As a mom, I can say no matter what my boys do or have done through life, my loved for them has not changed.  I have their backs no matter what.

I can talk about them, but never let me hear you talk bad about them.  The “mama bear” will come out, and protection will kick in.  Moms, you know what I am talking about.

One last thing. Don’t hold grudges against anyone. People should talk things out, and forgive and forget.  Life is too short to go weeks, months or years without talking.

We all fail at times and learn from our failures.  We pick ourselves up by our bootstraps get up and try again.

Happy Mother’s Day, moms.  Love on your kids every day because you don’t know when the good Lord is going to call you or them home. 

Chicken Bacon Ranch Layer Salad

Ingredients

9 cups roughly chopped green leaf or romaine lettuce divided

1 large red bell pepper seeded and diced

1 large poblano or green bell pepper seeded and diced

1 12 oz frozen corn steamed and cooled

6 medium tomatoes 5 chopped and 1 sliced into wedges for garnish

1 medium red onion thinly sliced

2 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 lb bacon cooked and crumbled

4 cup roasted chicken roughly chopped

3 green onion thinly sliced

2 large hard boiled eggs cut into wedges

Dressing See Recipe Notes

Instructions

In a large trifle or glass bowl layer in this order: 1/3 lettuce, 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 poblano pepper, 1/3 corn, 1/2 tomatoes, 1/2 red onion, 1 cup cheese, 1/3 bacon and 1/2 chicken. Drizzle with 1/2 cup prepared dressing.

Repeat, 1/3 lettuce, 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 poblano pepper, 1/3 corn, 1/2 tomatoes, 1/2 red onion, 1 cup cheese, 1/3 bacon and 1/2 chicken. Drizzle with 1/2 cup prepared dressing.

Top with the final 1/3 lettuce, 1/3 corn, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1/3 bacon and sliced green onion. Drizzle with 1/.2 cup dressing drizzling around the edge. Arrange egg and tomato wedges on top to garnish.

Chill for 4 hours, Serve with additional dressing on the side.

A quality prepared salad dressing or a packet of Hidden Valley Buttermilk Ranch dressing made per the package instructions may be substituted for the dressing in this salad.

Tina Specht is co-publisher of the Minden Press-Herald. She shares her thoughts and recipes each Thursday.