Retired Mother

Retired Mother Valerie J. Laidlaw

This is just a partial list of what I helped with as a mother for a daughter. (& 3 sons) I was always respectful and gave unconditional love. What do you think?

Little Miss ND Pageant: Purchased clothing for skit, interview outfit & shoes, sewed pageant dress, all expenses
Bowling team at the Bowler, created team shirts
Church/Sunday School (me teaching) Vacation Bible School Creative Arts Studio pottery class Beginning Experience for Children of Divorce, plus, a children’s counselor Chose names from Giving Trees, purchased their Christmas gifts
Prism/Odyssey of the Mind
Brownies/ Girl Scouts, plus, fundraising School carnivals, parties, and plays
Swimming lessons
Next to new wardrobe, plus, home sewn clothing, dresses, and costumes
1st on-line ordering of clothing and dresses French-braided, mini-braided hair,etc.
Birthday parties at Hotels, American Gold Gymnastics, Skateland, Chuckee Cheese, etc., decorated custom birthday cakes, Barbie, Garfield, etc.
Grandma Vivian, Aunt Muriel, cousin visits
2 years of Preschool at the Y, where I also helped Daycare, with me in-home, and elsewhere
New Bicycles, several sizes as time passed. New Yamaha Scooter
1st car & repairs, shared payments
Orthodontics…braces for teeth Dental, Vision Brought her to brother’s activities: swimming/hockey/soccer, plus, helped in concessions, plus, was a Cub Scout Den Mother Arranged private airplane with a pilot for a “first flight” experience 4.5 years of monthly child support, plus, several 100’s of $$ sent to Bend, OR to help with trip to Florence, Italy Paper routes: I helped, plus, had extra routes (North Dakota winters) Throughout these years I also sold Avon, and worked full-time in a career assisting people with physical and developmental disabilities and/or mental illness, and worked as a paraprofessional and tutor in a school system all grade levels. Prior to retirement I achieved a Master of Science degree in Counseling in 2011, interning at a state hospital. I was a Licensed Social Worker from 1988 until 2018, upon retiring. My undergrad was a Bachelors of Arts in Social Work 1977, interning at a county Social Services Department with elderly plus, adolescents in a Youth Job Corps.

Additionally, for the 1st home. I wallpapered two bathrooms, a kitchen and a bedroom. I tore out kitchen carpet and installed linoleum. I sewed cushions for a set of wicker furniture for the porch. I painted 3 coats of paint to the entire basement floor. I sewed lots of curtains. I made the house a home. I recovered upholstered furniture and finished and refinished wooden furniture.

The twin home in Fargo. I laid linoleum, painted and stenciled and wallpapered, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining area, stairway, and 2 of 3 bedrooms. I laid new linoleum in the entryway.

Home in Wahpeton.I tore out all carpet. Stenciled kitchen and dining room and sewed dining room and kitchen curtains. I painted Josh’s bedroom floors and walls. The start of a home.

The 8-plex apartment…I painted and repaired whatever broke down.

In every home, I tried to keep each place nice and liveable on a shoestring budget.

Three Birds on a Fountain

By Valerie J Laidlaw

Three birds on a fountain,

Two are poised in mirrored, Egyptian symmetry.

The third one keeps a watchful eye,

Warning: “Infringe not on our territory!”

They dip their beaks like drinking-bird bobbing toys,

Listening intently for any movement or stirring noise.

Their base-coat of oily, coal, black feathers,

Display a rainbow iridescence of highlighted, jeweled hues,

With a guilded cloak of gold and heather,

Plus, a spectrum that reaches from deep purple to an indigo blue.

Three birds on a fountain,

In a flash, they flee, and go,

Three birds on a fountain,

Returning, again? When? I’ll never know.

“Winter Crow Show” entry 2022

Nature’s Lesson from a Loon

By Valerie J. Laidlaw

Oftentimes, it is okay to hesitate.

Sometimes, good things happen for those who wait.                

For others, the time passes along so fast.          

The opportunity of choices don’t last.

The window of time closes, and it’s just too late!

We, as humans, tend to underestimate,

Nature’s miracles bestowed upon a lake.

A lone loon musters up enough strength, with a height he needs to take,

Dreaming of those days when the sun shone much hotter,

Knowing he must leave all the eagles, fish, and otters,

Icebound, in a vanishing circle of open water.

He ultimately, victoriously migrates,

Solitarily, yet, nonetheless, great!!

“Single-Digit Fishing”

“Single-Digit Fishing” By Valerie J Laidlaw

We drove across a windswept highway, On a sunny, cold, single-digit day.

On one sled with skis, we balanced two augers, tackle and rods, Trudging a path, across a frozen lake, where nobody had recently trod.

The smaller sled held a heater, tank, a bucket for fish, soda cans, and a bottle of whiskey for trophy shots. We walked along the quiet stretch of snow-covered ice, and aimed for our favorite, fishing spot.

The natural, wooded land surrounding the lake is peaceful, and as quiet as a mountain, With eagles, trees of birch and pine, and clean, fresh air upon one’s face.

Removing the augers, we bored four holes until water gushed up like a fountain, Upon skimming each hole, we popped open our tent, drilling pegs to keep it in place.

Despite the single-digit temps outside, we were comfortable against the cold, For as we set up the heater, it fully warmed up our vagabond abode.

We placed two chairs and tables for us to sit astride. Two tip-ups with rods in place, were also set inside.

Our rods and reels and bait were set, with pvc stands, sitting near two of the holes. Our fishing began, next, as we jigged and jiggled our poles.

A strike occurred on a tip-up, so Rick started to reel it in, Simultaneously, a strike hit my bait, and I reeled up his Northern Pike’s twin.

Two shots of whiskey for the pair of fish we just caught, As, inside the bucket, both of them wiggled around.

Till the golden sun had set, we tried more and sought, Yet, no further fish were found.

As the western sky dimmed upon the horizon, A crescent moon followed us home,

We will return another day, time, and occasion, And, this is the end of my poem.

“Birthday Eve”

“Birthday Eve” By Valerie J. Laidlaw

Years ago, I awoke in the night,

Or, was it possibly, early dawn?

I heard whispers, so I peered out, down at a site,

Seeing two busy “elves” on my stoop with no lawn.

So busy were they, with the “secret” surprize,

Unaware that their “secret” was being revealed to my eyes.

Just as, the man watching Santa Claus on the rooftop, and then, next to the tree,

And like, the shoemaker watching the elves busily, with the work they entailed,

I peered out, watching, silently,

As the pair tied a cluster of floating birthday balloons to the rail.

I continued to watch, as they drove out of sight,

Then, I went to bed, dreaming sweetly for the rest of the night.

“Thank You, Sons!”

“Hummingbird Angels”

“Hummingbird Angels”

By Valerie J Laidlaw

My mother loved to watch these birds…

Fluttering all about.

She’d boil pots of sugar-water,

Filling bottles with syrup…

Whenever they ran out.

She’d point out her feathered friends,

Their personalities, and their actions,

She knew which birds were kind,

Or selfish, as she watched with satisfaction.

She’d scold the birds when they were naughty,

And praise the ones who shared,

She recieved so much joy from their antics,

And, showed us how much she cared.

Her tiny hummingbirds were like family,

As they flitted about so beautifully, here and there!

When my mother’s eyesight faded,

And, as her mind became impaired,

A dainty hummingbird windchime,

Reminded her of those blessed times,

Like little winged angels flying in the air!