You could hear her humming in the kitchen. Washing dishes, stirring mixes, spreading frosting.
You could hear her humming in the laundry room. Loading the washer, loading the dryer, folding the clothes.
When my mother worked she sang, whistled, but mostly hummed.
She’s nearly eighty-six now and her mind is as sharp as mine or better.
How did she raise six children, three boys and then three girls, and keep her sanity? There are days I wonder this, especially when I feel like I’m losing mine.
The other day, I had one of those moments, when I thought I was on the brink. One of my kids, who I’m convinced could be a lawyer one day, was stating her case. I’m an older mother now, a more tired mother now. Keeping up with her twists and turns, her “But you said last week . . .,” and remembering my own name, all at the same time, is just too much for me sometimes. This moment was no different. She stomped off to her room.
That’s when I plunged my hands in some soapy dish water and began to hum. And I hummed. And I hummed. And I hummed . . . one old hymn after another.
And the longer I hummed, the better I felt.
I smiled. I now know why my mother hummed.