100th Post on “Things I Want To Tell My Mother”

1978 ~ Mary reading to two of her grandchildren

1978 ~ Mary reading to two of her grandchildren

2007 ~ Mary reading to her great-grandchildren

2007 ~ Mary reading to her great-grandchildren

Dear Mom,

Wow, May 4th is ONE HUNDRED posts on our blog!  Amazing.

Our first post was on September 1st of  2011. Since then we’ve shared stories about your life growing up on the farm in Missouri, raising your own family in Kansas, helping children through teaching, volunteering with CASA, and stepping in to help anyone who needed help.  We’ve held writing contests with cash prizes in your name—Mother’s Day Greeting Card Writing, Christmas Memories, and Poetry Writing—and we’ve shared some of your poems, essays and illustrated stories.  We’ve reminded readers of many unusual days on the calendar and posted inspiring quotes, favorite recipes and titles of books we’ve enjoyed.  We’ve featured friends and your great-grandchildren as guest bloggers, and we’ve shared information about Alzheimer’s and dementia.

We never missed a week, and some weeks we posted twice!

In the process, we greeted visitors and made new friends from all over the United States, from the UK, Canada, Australia, India, Israel and sixty-four other countries. These are readers who’ve laughed with us, cried at some of our stories, and cheered us on by sharing their stories. We are very grateful for all of them.

Today, for our 100th post we’re going to share some interesting details about May, the month of our celebration.

The Roman poet Ovid wrote that the month of May is named for the maiores, Latin for “elders.”  In 1963, President John F. Kennedy established May as Older Americans Month. This is a month to respect seniors and celebrate longevity, which includes you, Mom, at the respectful age of almost 95!

When I was in elementary school, on the last day of April you and I made little holders of rolled construction paper and braided yarn for the handles. On May 1st we picked crocus, daffodils and tulips, or if spring didn’t cooperate we filled the holders with small cookies and candy. I’d hang the little May Day baskets from the front door knobs of older neighbors’ houses, ring the bell, call out “Happy May Day!” and hurry away.

Next week, May 8th is No Socks Day for all ages.  The idea is to set your toes free and give your feet a breath of fresh air. Go barefoot and smile at the comfort of cool grass, warm sand or swishing water.

The next day, May 9th, follow up with Lost Sock Memorial Day. Search through drawers or behind the dryer, but if you can’t find the missing sock, take its lonely mate and give it a solitary use: as a dust cloth, a holder for buttons or coins, or make a hand puppet for a child or a chew toy for a pet. Or just dispose of it (gently, of course).

Next Sunday is the well known and widely celebrated Mothers Day, May 12.

A lesser known day is Saturday, May 11—Birth Mothers Day—which is more private. This day was originally set up for mothers to spend quiet moments thinking about or praying for the children they gave up for adoption…or for adopted children to do the same for their birth mothers.  It is intended as an anonymous tribute, and some houses of worship have special candles or flower vases set up for Birth Mothers to give prayers and thanks for the love and care given by Adoptive Mothers.

And finally, the last week of May is National Simultaneous Storytime, which we wish American parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians would vote to implement for our nation’s children.  In Australia, children’s libraries hold a special event where all public and school librarians read aloud the same book on the agreed upon day, at 11AM EST, to the children everywhere in Australia!

Well, Mom, this has been our 100th post. Let’s thank our reading friends and give them cyber hugs for sharing in our adventure…and then it’s nap time.  Next week is post #101, and we’ll need our rest.

2010 ~ Mary's great-grandchildren on farmer-type playground toys in Kansas (all photos by Marylin Warner)

2010 ~ Mary’s great-grandchildren on farmer-type playground toys in Kansas (all photos by Marylin Warner)

1983 ~ Alien children on Mary's front porch

1983 ~ Alien grandchildren on Mary’s front porch



Filed under celebrations, Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, making a difference, memories for grandchildren, memories for great-grandchildren, neighbors, spending time with kids, Things to be thankful for, writing

62 responses to “100th Post on “Things I Want To Tell My Mother”

  1. juliabarrett

    Congratulations! Your mother is so engaging, even if it’s in retrospect. Her past is so vivid, so colorful. I just love her! And 95 is most impressive! Think I’ll take my shoes off, walk barefoot through the grass and read a book.

    • And then go for a perfect pedicure! (I laughed as I read your blog about the search…and the great picture of Gerard Butler!)
      Thanks for you many encouragements of our blog, Julia.

  2. Congratulations your blog is very inspiring and a beautiful honor to your Mother!

    • Thank you, Mary. When I visit mom each month and read some of what used to be her favorite posts, she smiles but usually asks, “Do I know her?” But even her dementia can’t stop the blogs from letting her great-grandchildren know her better, and that’s what counts.

      • Marylin, you could write a book – it’s the grace of how you manage during this difficult time. I always look forward to your posts.

      • That’s very sweet, Mary, but I can hardly keep up with posting one blog each week. I’ve glad you enjoy the stories about my mother.

  3. Jane Thorne

    Congratulations and well done Marylin 🙂 It is so lovely to be able to share your journey like this with so much love woven through. Xx

  4. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey with us, Jane!

  5. dianabletter

    Wow, 100 posts! Way to go, Marylin. You’ve produced a fine body of work in honor of your Mom! THanks for sharing the photos, especially of the aliens on the porch! And Happy Early Mother’s Day to everyone!
    The Mom Who Took Off On Her Motorcycle

    • And Happy Early Mother’s Day to you, too, Diana. Your series on helpful (and real, practical and humorous) hints for raising good kids while still staying sane are wonderful!

  6. Congratulations on the century, Marylin! No surprises that this blog began it’s journey in the fabulous month of May! That was fast, but I am sure you want to tell many more things to your mother. I will remain humbled by your devotion.

    • When I first began writing the posts, I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough specific details from my mother’s life (before the dementia). But each story nudges the memories of more stories, and friends and family have also begun sharing, too. I’m glad to do this now, and have stories for the great-grandchildren who never knew her before the dementia.

  7. Congrats and good for you on keeping the blog rolling. Will try to remember May * and Sock Day, but you know here, we just had snow for gosh sakes. First ever in May on record. Everyone feels Spring Suspended! Love the remembrance of May Baskets…I did them too and have such fond memories.

    • Oh, I know, Claudia. This really is one for the record books! We are SO ready for spring, but we feel guilty for complaining since both Kansas and Colorado really needed the moisture. Wish we could get it from soft spring showers that bring May flowers!

  8. My mother passed in Sept. Your post was heartwarming for me. Congrats on the milestone.

    • I’m sorry for your loss, Carl, and I’m glad if the post helped. I lost my father to Alzheimer’s four years ago, and as I watched my mother’s dementia increase, I wanted to record as many stories as I could. Some weeks it’s been a struggle and taken the place of other things I needed to do, but now I’m glad to be doing it.

  9. What a lovely tale of the journey this was

    • Thank you. When I see the name of your site–Counting Ducks–I smile and remember last fall when during my visits I’d bundle Mom up and take her down to feed the ducks at the pond.

  10. Lovely way to commemorate your mother while she’s still with you. Blessings.

  11. Congrats on the 100 posts!

    I remember making little May Day baskets when I was a kid. Do people still do that, I wonder? As for No Socks Day–my youngest son would love that!

    • I don’t know, Carrie. Since May Day baskets are supposed to be happy surprises, I wonder how many neighbors today would hesitate to open them or eat the goodies. Times change, but one thing is constant: children (especially little boys, I think) are experts at losing socks!

      • Someone left a May Day basket at my door in 1978 — and I just last week discovered, through a funny and strange conversation on facebook, who my secret admirer had been. The boy who had done it, confessed. I was genuinely surprised the first time, to get a basket. It was the first and only May Day gift I ever got. The bigger surprises were 1) I never, ever, ever would have guessed who the giver was; and 2) that he and I would both remember it all these years later.

        I love how you are constantly weaving together memory and surprise in your posts, Marylin. Well done. And I hope you and your mother enjoy a perfectly wonderful month of May, and a happy mother’s day.

  12. Gosh 100 posts and Mom is 95, double celebration! All I can say is ‘I’m glad I found you and your wonderful posts to you Mom, they have been entertaining, funny, sad and informative. If your Mom knew what your writings contained about her and her so many good deeds her heart would be filled with the joy that we all get from reading about her selflessness in life and smiling to herself as she thinks, “yes, I did a good job raising my Marylin”

    can’t wait for number 200 xxxxxx

    • You are so wonderful, Tom. I remember just getting started with this blog, and you sent one of the blogs with pictures of your “Mum” and I thought these women had so much in common and would have made nice friends. Instead, their children carry on the friendship through our blogs! 200? Oh, Tom, I feel tired just thinking of writing 100 more!

  13. Jim

    Congratulations on your 100th, Marylin. I get to observe the creation and evolution of each post. You put much time and work into the effort, but you never seem to stress or fret. The ideas, pictures, and their formulation seem to come so easily and naturally. I’m really proud of you. The May 11th–Birth Mother’s Day brought a tear to my eye. I have a life-time friend named Jon, who is a wonderful husband and father because of his adoptive parents. Jon is the father of two of his own children, plus the adoptive father of five more children when he remarried after the death of his first wife. There are a lot of good people in this world.

    • Thanks, sweetie. You always make kind connections between the goodness in my mother’s stories and the goodness in others’ lives.
      Without you moving me forward, Jim, I’d still be freelance writing on a typewriter and taking pictures with a Polaroid camera.
      Okay, not that bad, but you are the one I count on to fix all the computer glitches and recharge the digital camera, never complaining when I have to stop and take just one more picture or two. You’ve been there every step of 100 posts, and I love you!

  14. and by the way, don’t get me started on socks http://tomstronach.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/great-sock-debate.html

    and don’t tell anyone but I get to be year older on the 10th

    • Sssh. I won’t tell anyone, Tom. But on May 10th HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Listen carefully, and you’ll hear all your blog friends in the U.S. singing loudly and waving sock puppets!

  15. Cyber Hugs back to you and your Mom for all the great pictures, the entertainment and the information. You have days there I’ve never heard of which should be made institutions everywhere. xxx Hugs xxx

  16. Well done on your 100th post.
    Your blog is a fantastic tribute to your mother and a reflection of the caring compassionate person that you are.
    I look forward to the next 100.
    Have a great weekend. 🙂

  17. Congrats on 100 posts, Marylin. That’s impressive!

    • When I first began this, Nancy, if you’d asked when I’d reach 100 posts, I’d have said, “What? Oh, no!”
      But here I am, with more ideas, too! Amazing.
      And you’re on your way, too!

  18. Congratulations on reaching this milestone! And thank you for your courage in undertaking this project.

  19. Glee Kracl

    Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! What a tribute to your mother for your faithfulness in posting on your blog and on being so faithful visiting her. Marylin, in case any of your readers are wondering what you looked like when you were a young girl, they need only look at the last picture in this post. I was sure it was you and your brother, David, until I noticed the date!!! That is Molly and David’s firstborn. (can’t think of the name momentarily)

    • marylin warner

      Now you’re really confusing everyone, Glee! The last picture–the Aliens on the porch–is of my daughter Molly (and yes, that’s how I looked at that age, from what everyone tells me) and next to Molly is Andrew, son of my brother David. I’m still laughing, but I guess it is easy to confuse all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren shown in the pictures with my mom. Can you imagine how confusing it would be if the five siblings (including my mom and your dad) were posed in pictures with all their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren?
      p.s. Did you notice how I included the May 9th Missing Sock Memorial Day? Now aren’t you glad my mom made me give you back your socks?

  20. Wonderful 100th Post and I am so amazed to learn of all the special days in May. My father will be 93 on 8 May, (which is also World Red Cross Day), and I don’t need to tell him to take off his socks. He lives in tropical Australia and rarely needs socks.:) Today, May 5, is also Children’s Day in Japan (used to be Boys’ Day). It is, amongst other things, the day for children to express their gratitude for the tender love and care they receive from their parents. I think your 100th Post bears witness to that tender love.

  21. marylin warner

    Oh, thank you.
    Japan’s May 5th Children’s Day is touching and life affirming, to include children’s expressions of gratitude for the tender love and care given by their parents. What a wonderful day! I wish some of these Special Days were universally celebrated.

  22. Molly

    I am so excited that because of this journey you are taking, the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren will always have a documentation about grandma, Mary Elizabeth Shepherd. Thank you!

    And a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has commented along the way. That will be another wonderful piece for all of us to look back on!

    I find it really funny that when you showed Grace the pictures tonight, she was certain that it was a picture of her…when in reality it was me…..and yet Glee, your cousin, says that it looks enough like you to have been you! We definitely have a strong gene pool.

    This blog will always have a way to be super special for family members, and yet also for friends near and far, too!

    Keep up the GREAT work!

    • The gene pool is strong, that’s for sure, and we all have been so fortunate to inherit Mom/Grandma/Great-grandma’s influences. She’s a rare, amazing woman with a huge capacity for love, kindness and creativity.

      As I was growing up, it was lonely being the only red-headed kid in the family. Now RED is the dominant color in 3 generations, and I love it. It’s a smile maker when even family members look at groups of pictures and are confused if the girl is Marylin, Molly, or Grace. I love it!

  23. Congratulations. You have kept us entertained, educated and encouraged with your stories.

  24. Chuck and Helen Armstrong

    Congratulations. 100 memories and entries to your mother! BYW, Marylin, Chuck and I have so enjoyed and needed the microwave warmer bag that you gave me. Today is the 1st full day of listing, and I think we made it!

    My love to you, dear caring family of Mary Elizabeth. Helen

  25. I have a full list of saved emails about the blog from you, Helen, so it’s a real celebration to have you commenting online now! Especially with you and Chuck being so busy with the house listings.
    Love back to you from the family of Mary Elizabeth!

  26. Congratulations in your successful 100th post Marilyn ,
    …More power my friend 🙂

    • More power is right, Jake! I’m determined to post every week for the next 100, too, and it wears me out just thinking about it! Thanks for the good wishes, my friend!

  27. Congratulations on celebrating 100 blog posts to honor your mom! I didn’t realize she was 95. WOW! I also enjoy your family photos and my two favorites today were the “aliens” and the toy farm equipment. May you offer another 100 and beyond fabulous posts. 🙂 And now that the weather has warmed, I’ll be going barefoot.

    • Of course you’d like Mom’s Alien grandchildren, Tracy, and her great-grandchildren on the toy farm equipment. It’s your artist’s whimsical appreciation!
      I can’t wait for the warm weather to finally arrive so I can go barefoot.

  28. Congrats Marylin on reaching the 100 post mark! That is quite the accomplishment. I value your work here xx

  29. I appreciate that, Christy. It is an accomplishment, but each week’s inspiration and recall remind me of memories that I might have forgotten otherwise. The discipline of posting every week has helped me, too.

  30. Thank you for liking my blog and leading me here. It’s a wonderful thing you are doing, caring for your mother and recording her story.
    I smiled that No Socks Day falls in early May where you are, as I’ve just coddled my feet in socks again after my toes have enjoyed 6 months freedom here in Western Australia. 🙂 Helen

    • Welcome to the blog, Helen, glad to have you with us. In Western Australia you’re back to wearing socks again, but in Colorado we’re STILL in warm socks. We’re waiting for warm weather, but can’t complain about the moisture we get from spring snows.

  31. Congratulations on your milestone post!

  32. I loved sharing this journey with you, Marilyn, and look forward to many more wonderful stories about your Mom, you and your family.

  33. Amy

    Congratulations to you 100th post, Marylin! I feel privileged to visit you blog every time. Thank you so much for sharing so many wonderful stories about your mother.

  34. You’re very welcome, Amy. I’m so glad you enjoy the stories.

  35. I am only 18 posts from my 500th and still not sure if I were ever Freshly Pressed. I feel connected to your stories and enjoy all the ways you share your mother with us. These photos are precious and delightful, Marylin! Smiles, Robin

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