My Mother the Rebel


Note: I wrote this two years ago (almost to the day). I’ve been thinking about this posting a lot and am now ready to share it with the world.

If you’ve ever met my mother, she is a rule follower. She knows what the rules of the game are and makes sure that she and her children follow them. She drove the speed limit and gave us a hard time when we didn’t. She insisted we ride the bus to and from high school sporting events even if she was there to drive us home. When the school uniform code specified which socks we needed to wear, she made sure that we had the correct ones on before we left the house.

I think the epitome of this was the chore list. We were middle school and she made Maureen and I chore lists. (Erin was too young.) There were upstairs chores and downstairs chores to complete. She made sure to specify exactly what needed to be done. For example, instead of “clean the bathroom”, she would write clean the toilet, clean bathroom mirror, wipe the sink, vacuum bathroom rug, sweep bathroom floor, and scrub bathroom floor. She knew we would find a way to skip steps and not clean the way she wanted. After we were done, she would inspect and she would know if you had skipped any step of the cleaning process and make us go back and redo that part.

I rarely got to see my mother as a rebel but on occasion I caught glimpses.

Fast forward to last month. Mom passed away and we began going through pictures. We pulled pictures out from everywhere we could in the house. It was long and somewhat exhausting process but one that brought lots of memories and joy. We found pictures that we had never seen before and discovered that mom was the photographer. She took lots of photos but was not in them. When we found pictures of mom we had to think about what they represented about her life. There were some that we did not include right away because she  would not have liked them and others that we included despite of what she would think.

The entire time, dad kept saying we need to find the picture of her by the fountain. We did not know what he was talking about and just nodded our head and let him keep thinking this picture existed. We weren’t convinced.

Then we couldn’t find the pictures of their honeymoon. Dad was beside himself. He was disappointed that he couldn’t find pictures from their early years together. We searched high and low in the house and couldn’t come up with where mom would have hid these pictures. Then it came to Erin, she remembered packing up some photo albums from her room with mom and moving them into Maureen’s room for safe keeping. She went and found the bin and realized that mixed in with the empty albums were some that were full of pictures of mom as a young kid and from the early years of their marriage.

That’s where we found this gem.

Peggy Pictures1 5.jpg

It’s old and faded and was never a really great photo in the first place because it was taken during the dusk hour. That’s mom standing next to the fountain. It did exist and even though my sisters and I didn’t believe it, there is the proof.

The most interesting part of this photo is where it was taken. My parents, as you may or may not know, met in college. Dad was a student at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN and my mom was a student at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, MN. When mom and dad started dating, the would go walk around near lake Sagatagan. This garden is nearby and is reserved for members of the St. John’s Monastery.

One evening it was snowing while my rule following mother and my rule following father walked nearby.  They saw the fountain, thought it looked pretty and walked right into the monastic garden. Dad then took my mom’s picture.

This is a picture of my mother the rebel that I rarely got to see and for that I love it!