Our Mothers Like No Others

Print More

Courtesy photo

Susan Dromey Heeter's mother, Nancy, is pictured in the Parque de Palomas in Spain.


My mother’s name was Nancy, her mother’s was Gertrude and, beyond that, I don’t know. What I do know and muse joyfully upon is that my mother wore leather gloves like no other.

Nance sported stunning leather gloves, she had beautiful hands and I admired both the way she put on those gloves accompanied by lipstick. Red lipstick. And it did not come in plastic, rather, those metal, heavy lipstick tubes.  Those lipsticks had weight, bright red coloring, determination to be seen.

My mom used those hands for everything – bathing children, changing diapers, braiding hair, cooking, cleaning, knitting, rosary praying, phone cradling, admonishing, writing. 

Susan Dromey Heeter

 If anything, Nance, like all moms, worked hard, did her best and could frighten me like nobody else.  Alluding to “Mom at the top of the stairs” to any of my five brothers and sisters brings about an image of terror.  When we attempted to sneak in unheard and stealthily, it was entirely impossible as our stairs creaked like a heavy metal band.

 Nance would be at the top of the stairs wearing her flannel nightgown, still warm from her bed.  And, we knew we were in deep, deep trouble. The gritting of Nance’s teeth, her look of pure, unadulterated anger, that nightgown.  I still have nightmares.  She meant business. We were caught.

My mom lost her husband, my dad, when her youngest was 15, I was 19 and her oldest in his mid twenties.  She endured and survived but her sadness was palpable at weddings, when she held her first grandson, when she’d see couples out walking. She missed him, they were united and busy, devout and courageous.  But she proved she was not only capable of going it alone, she did not play the victim, rather, found solace in her religion, her work, her community, her friends.

I muse joyfully on moms; moments when they are missed and, well, moments they are not. When my daughter asked the other day, “well, didn’t your mom do this?” I felt a twinge of sadness. She knows Nance as “your Mom” and not as her Gram.  My girls never met their grandmother but I muse joyfully they meet her when I sport my leather gloves and put on lipstick. As for meeting me at the top of the stairs? I can grit my teeth and have been known to wear flannel nightgowns.  Watch out. 

The legacy of Nance lives on. 

And may you muse joyfully on your mothers today, their legacy of the good, the bad, the ugly.  The legacy of moms knows no bounds, celebrate, mourn or miss your mom today. And bless all those maternal hands, they do and have done more than we can know. 

Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards.

Comments are closed.