This year for Mother’s Day, the staff at the Capital Health Center for Women’s Health chose to pay homage to their moms through a blog. Each of them interviewed the mother figure in their lives. They learned some things they never knew about their moms, and maybe you will too. Take some time with your mom this year and ask them some questions. The answers may surprise you!
If you had to do one thing differently as a mom, what would it have been?
Donna Legg: “Keep more diaries of our family trips and adventures. I love reading my mother’s diaries and those that I kept when I was younger.”
Antonette Micai: “Stay calm when talking to my kids”
Nancy Mravcak: “Have more children”
Jean Protter: “I wouldn’t have disciplined as much.”
How did you pick my father?
DL: “At first sight, he was handsome. We dated for four years. I prayed about him and felt that he was the man chosen for me.”
AM: “When I met him, he was a nice, calm person who I knew would be a good father.”
NM: “He picked me. He followed me around a party. I would send him to get a drink and I would move, but he would find me again with the drink.”
JP: “We met at a resort. He was sweet and laid back.”
Is there anything you regret not having asked your parents?
DL: “I wish I knew more about their childhoods. I have some diaries from my mother, but I want to know about their early years.”
AM: “I wish I knew my father better. He was always working and distant. He passed away when I was 19.”
NM: “ I wish I got more family history, especially about family stories when they came to the US from Poland and Lithuania.”
JP: “I wish I knew more about the genealogy. I should have tried to find out more about family history. My parents were immigrants and didn’t talk about the home country.”
What’s the best thing I can do for you right now?
DL: “Keep including me as a part of your life. You are doing a great job!”
AM: “Call me more and tell me what’s going on in your life.”
NM: “Call me more often.”
JP: “Keep doing everything you do right now. You help with everything!”
When did you realize you were no longer a kid?
DL: “I haven’t yet! Teaching 6th grade kept me young for years, and now my children and grandson keeps me young.”
AM: “ When I was 19, and my father passed away suddenly.”
NM: “When I got into nursing school I realized I would have to be on my own soon, especially when I was working on the floors and taking care of patients.”
JP: “When I was working in my parent’s candy store at age 13-14. I had to work.”
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
DL: “My mother. She taught me family values, gardening, canning, cooking. She modeled how to journal and encouraged me to become a teacher.”
AM: “My husband and all three of my children.”
NM: “A lot of people around me inspire me, especially my children.”
JP: “My husband (now deceased). He was so good with my son.”
What’s the best gift you ever received?
DL: “I received a piano when I was pregnant with you from your father. I played throughout both my pregnancies. Both you and your brother took lessons and we spent so much time playing together. It has brought me so much joy through the years.”
AM: “When I receive a greeting card and someone writes their own message in it. It makes me cry tears of joy.”
NM: “Some of my best gifts were made by my kids in school. I’m thinking of a pin my son John made me of all different colored rocks. I still have it!”
JP: “My son Glenn. He is so good.”
What was the hardest thing about being a mom? What was the most rewarding thing?
DL: “The hardest thing was discipline. I hated doing that. The most rewarding, though, was seeing the rewards later on from the hard work. My kids are wonderful people.”
AM: “The hardest thing was patience. I needed more of it and prayed for it often. The most rewarding part was seeing my children grown up with their own families.
NM: “The hardest part was not having enough time for me and trying to give everyone the attention they needed. The most rewarding part was watching my kids excel. Little things, like when they brought home a test with a good grade.”
JP: “The hardest part was not knowing whether you are right or wrong, wondering if you are harming your children emotionally or mentally, and regretting what you think you did wrong. The most rewarding part is seeing the final product—how my son lives his life and how well he turned out. “
What is your wish for your future generations?
DL: “A world without crime, anger, and stress.”
AM: “To have more patience and to enjoy children and grandchildren.”
NM: “No more wars.”
JP: “That they can have a fruitful life like I did, that they have prospects like I did. My generation was very lucky.”
Can you recall one memorable thing that each of your children said?
DL: “I remember when you were 12 and told me you wanted to be a doctor when your brother was sick. I remember when your brother was 4 and told me that he wanted to build a house next door to ours and paint it red with pink shutters and live there forever.”
AM: “I remember when my daughter asked us to move in with her. It made me so happy to know we weren’t considered a burden. Being told I was a great mother. Being thanked for helping my kids through rough times.”
When did you feel the prettiest? (Special day, outfit, time in your life)?
DL: “I have a picture of my husband and I when I was in my late 30s, after having two kids. I think I look beautiful in this picture. I have it framed”
AM: “On my wedding day.”
NM: “My wedding day.”
JP: “The day I got married. We went to the Rabbi’s study. I wore a short wedding dress and we went out to lunch. We didn’t bother with a big wedding.”
What’s the nicest thing you have ever done for yourself?
DL: “Two things: 1) exercise every day to keep myself active 2) travel as much as possible. Which I can do because I’m still so active!”
AM: “Shopping and treating myself to new clothes. I love to buy pretty things!”
NM: “Getting regular manicures and pedicures.”
JP: “Marrying my husband.”
What are you most proud of in your life?
DL: “My family, the most important thing of all.”
AM: “My children”
NM: “My children”
JP: “I am most proud of my son and his wife, of having survived all my years, of my family, children, and grandchildren.”
DONNA LEGG is a retired teacher, mother of two, and grandmother to her grandson. She grew up in a family of eight children in upstate New York on her family farm. My mom received her master’s degree in education from Potsdam State University of New York. For 34 years, she has been happily married to my father, Kevin. She loves to travel, read, knit, cook, garden, and spend time with her family. My mom is a devoted church attendee and member of the music ministry. Our family and all around her admire her energy, enthusiasm, faith, and joy for life. I am blessed to call her my mother, my role model, and my friend. —Sarah Wistreich
ANTONETTE MICAI is a wonderful mother of three and grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of two. She grew up in a family of six children in Trenton, NJ. She loves to knit, read, and enjoys her family. She loves to be at the beach. She has been a devoted wife for 58 years. Her children feel blessed to have learned about the importance of the little things in life: Stop and smell the roses. —Kathy Woods
NANCY MRAVCAK, mother of three and grandmother of two, was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., but lived most of her adult life in New Jersey. She enjoyed a successful career as a nurse and is the epitome of the woman who could do it all. She seemed to effortlessly care for her family, excel in her career, and further her education. Nancy, now retired at the Jersey Shore with her husband of 55 years, enjoys being a painter, baker, bridge-player, and yoga-mat-slinging line dancer. She is a woman who visualizes the best and will always gracefully survive the worst. A gentle soul, Nancy will always be the first to congratulate or console and I am thankful that she is my mother.” —Sally Mravcak
JEAN PROTTER is the daughter of immigrants. She was born and raised in New York City. Despite many obstacles, she went to college, received a bachelor degree in education, later received a master’s degree, and became an elementary school teacher. She was married to her husband for over 50 years and together they had one (awesome) son. Jean is the matriarch of our family—mother, mother-in-law, grandmother. She is kind, steadfast, wise without judgment, an extraordinary individual, and a role model for me in this world as a woman and a human being.” —Randi Protter
Check out more blog posts from these amazing women.