Happy Mother’s and Father’s Days!


My mom and I; Christmas Day, 1969. I’m riding my horse, Patches.

My mom and I; Mother's Day 2014

My mom and I; Mother’s Day 2014

What will you do this year to let your mom and/or dad know how much they mean to you?  Did you know that Mother’s Day began as a day to spend in church and in writing a letter to your mom, letting her know how much she meant to you?  Father’s Day was begun by a woman whose own mother had passed away and who wanted to honor her dad.

When I was growing up, my dad wasn’t around very much.  He ultimately left our home when I was nine, and he died ten years later.  There were times he was a great dad, but there were lots of times he wasn’t.  My mom really had her hands full taking care of us three children, working as a nurse, keeping the house up, and dealing with my dad.   I think she did a great job.  My brother became an Eagle Scout and is now the CEO for the Boston Boy Scout Council.  My sister and I are both teachers.  We all have our own families and homes.  None of us would have the lives we do if it weren’t for all the sacrifices our mom made for us growing up.


Here are some of my favorite stories about my mom.

When I was about 12, we didn’t have any money for a Christmas tree.  My mother, being the resourceful New Englander she is, got a rusty old saw from the cellar, opened our living room window (which was about 15 feet off the ground), sat with one leg dangling out the window, and began sawing off the top of a pine tree that hugged our house.  She succeeded in getting us a four-foot Christmas tree and in changing the shape of our two-story pine from a triangle to a trapezoid.  She went out to the front lawn where the treetop had fallen, hauled it into the house, set it onto a table to give it some added height, and voila!  Problem solved.  I didn’t love the tree, nor did I love explaining to my friends why we had such a puny tree or why our outside tree had been amputated, but I did love the way my mom took care of us without asking for help or pity from anyone.  She is resilient.

Another time when I was around the same age, we were on a picnic at Castle Island in Boston.  It started to rain, and so my mom put a dish towel on her head and began “running” for the car.  My mom has not really been a runner since she was about five-years-old.  To my junior high way of thinking, she looked crazy, but she was laughing despite the rain, the ruined picnic, and my clear disdain for her dishtowel rain hat.  Even at the time, I still loved the way she laughed at the whole situation, which was beyond her control.  She was able to look at the big picture of our family together, running in the rain, and overlook the fact that the evening did not go as planned.

My mom has taught me a lot by the way she handles adversity.  It is often through adversity that we grow, and guess what?  Without rain, that pine tree next to my old house would never have been able to re-grow, so that today it once again stands two-stories high and is a perfect isosceles triangle.

The house I grew up in.  The pine tree is around the other side of the house, but you can see how high the first floor windows are off the ground.

The house I grew up in. The pine tree is around the other side of the house, but you can see how high the first floor windows are off the ground.

What do you need to thank your mom or dad for?

What is the funniest story you can think of that involves your mom or dad?

How does your mom or dad inspire you?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s and Father’s Days!

  1. Hi Mrs. Donofrio-

    I loved your stories about your resilient, laugh-at-adversity Mom. Sounds like you won the jackpot in the maternal department. 🙂 My own Mom grew up a tomboy who could do anything–from wringing a chicken’s neck to filleting and frying up a bluefish she’d caught in the Chesapeake Bay hours earlier.

    Like your family, we were short on money so my Mom made many of my clothes and every extraordinary Halloween costume I ever wore. Truly, in this Party-City packaged era, they’d be considered museum quality.
    One spring, my elementary school held a book fair parade and every student dressed up as their favorite book character. My mother created Raggedy Ann and Andy costumes for me and my best friend that landed us in the town newspaper. Mom sewed into the wee hours of the night for more than a week, even creating our red mop-top wigs by hand. I’d give anything to have those costumes hanging in my closet today. Mom doesn’t sew anymore–and I never have. So it’s Party City for my own kids. HA! HA!

    I actually stopped by your blog to see if you’d be up for having your students create writing prompts for my students–and vice versa. They could then credit each other for the inspiration, offer a link to the prompt-supplying student’s blog, and we’ll get a batch of grand stories to post. Let me know if you’re game!

    Mrs. Rombach

    • Dear Mrs. Rombach,
      Warm greetings from sunny Florida! Thank you for visiting us at Hey, Kids! (http://www.bdonofrio.edublogs.org), for your wonderful comment about your mother (I am a Party City/Target costume mother myself, but have a photo of myself wearing an authentic 5T size green and yellow polka dotted clown costume sewn by my mother). Thank you also for the inspired idea of creating writing prompts with our classes. We would love to share writing ideas with you and your students. We have our final exam on Tuesday, May 19th, and a Book Talk Cafe on Friday, May 22. Other than that, we are available until June 3rd, our last day of school. We could create and share prompts on Wednesday, the 20th, and write posts any time after that. Does that time frame work for you?
      I also had to comment on the wonderful response you have from Miss Gephart. Aren’t the author connections made through blogging incredible? This will be a life-long lesson for your students, both about reading and about kindness. We have been fortunate to have established a connection with one of our favorite authors, Graham Salisbury (Under the Blood Red Sun). Making that connection transforms the whole atmosphere of the classroom. What was once writing within four walls for teacher and students alone becomes a true collaborative, experiential gift of learning that will make an indelible impression upon the students. My hat off to you for making that connection! So kind of Miss Gephart as well. A very encouraging, rewarding experience all around.
      I will let my kids know on Monday that we are planning a writing exchange. Thank you for the idea and for thinking of our class! I am thrilled, and I know my kids will be, too!
      And, in the spirit of collaborative writing, here is a prompt from me to you!
      ~I know from reading your posts that you are a dynamic teacher. I also see from your About page that you are a busy wife and mother of five! WOW! I am a wife and mother of four, grades 12, 11, 9, and 5, three girls and one boy (the 9th grader). I need logistic help from a pro. Describe your typical day. How is your routine different during the weekend than it is during the week? In short, how do you do so much, so well?
      Most sincerely,
      Mrs. Donofrio

  2. Hi Mrs. Donofrio-

    I keep missing your dates. Ugh. Typical me. 🙂

    We just finished SOL testing yesterday and had chromebooks in the classroom today. We had a blast writing collaborative “letters from camp”. We played musical chairs. Everyone starts with the same prompt and then we jump up and race around the room to claim an open computer to continue each other’s stories. This is how we practice incorporating vocabulary words into our writing. The results are outlandishly, laugh-out-loud funny. The kids have such a blast–and they’ve learned how to switch up their voice and content in an instant to seamlessly meld into someone else’s story line. The sharing at the end is the most fun. We always run out of time!

    So–back to the prompts. Here’s what I’ll do. Either tomorrow or Friday, I’ll share a Google Doc with my students in which they’ll each write a story-starting prompt. I can then convert to a PDF and share with you (since our Google account is restricted to our county schools only).

    Can you do the same? Then, next week, we’ll use your prompts to write our round-robin stories. What do you think? Would you email me your student prompts when ready to martha.rombach@lcps.org. Have them include their first names so when we post the stories on our blogs, we can give your students credit and they’ll know that they were our inspirations.

    If you’re like me, you’re operating at 99% capacity at all times and then flop into a heap at the end of the night. I sometimes fall asleep as I’m typing up tomorrow’s work on the computer. How do I do this? You should see the insides of my house. No, on second thought, it could be dangerous to your health. HA HA. Then there’s the problem of putting exercise on the back burner. Summertime fitness is a must! 🙂 I know you love your job. Me, too. Plus, I have an awesome husband who supports me–and kids who do their own laundry and help me cook dinners. 🙂 We are foster parents to many dust bunnies, though. 🙂

    Let me know when your prompts are ready. We’ll create ours this week. Can’t wait! 🙂

    Martha Rombach

    • Dear Mrs. Rombach,
      I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the musical chair vocabulary word story time! How fun! I will be “stealing” that idea. Thank you for sharing! Vocabulary can be monotonous, and I am always looking for creative ways to spice up our learning. Thank you!
      We will create story prompts on Tuesday and send them to you by the end of the day. We will be able to write stories from your prompts right away. You have some very clever ideas; I am so glad to have found you!
      You are spot on about the 99% capacity, although if you are like me, sometimes you overload to 104% capacity! My husband thought I was the only one who fell asleep at the computer. I can’t wait to show him your comment. I will also have to share with my kids who don’t yet do their own laundry or help with dinners. We are an active traveling sports family, along with AP high school classes and part-time jobs for those who drive a car. (No money, no gas, no car.) Let’s start a magazine that’s the antithesis of Good Housekeeping and feature photo shoots of real homes! I always tell my guests, “You’re going to feel great visiting me. Either your house will be sparkling clean compared to mine, and you can feel great that your house is worthy of Better Homes and Gardens, OR your house is similar to mine, and you will heave a huge sigh of relief that you are not alone in the C+ Housekeeping Club. (I give myself the + for self-esteem purposes.)
      We’ll connect next week! YAHOO!
      ~Mrs. Donofrio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *