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Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Mother's Day to our Dr. Mom of 12

By Ted Slowik

Twenty-five years ago this week, the Chicago Tribune ran a front-page story about my family. It was Mother's Day, and the headline read, "12 Kids Can Add 'Ph.d.' To An Unstoppable Mom."

Actually, Mom is a doctor of education and holds an Ed.D., not a Ph.D. It's so unlike the Tribune to make a major error like that, but Ed.D. degrees were new at the time. Her thesis was about aging, and staying healthy later in life. She taught nursing, after all.

Mom's an incredible person, having raised 12 children then pursuing a career as a nurse and university professor. It's like she lived two lives in one, and she still found time to travel the world with Dad and enjoy time with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Dad was amazing, too, but there's something special about the bond between a boy and his mother.

In the summer of 1979, upon graduating from St. Cletus School, I went to live with my brother Stan in Colorado. I was 14. I was a having a great time. Then one day I received a letter from Mom. She wrote that she saw a boy who looked like me the other day and realized how much she missed me. I suddenly became very homesick.

I spent some time with Mom this week at the house where I grew up in Countryside. We did some light work together in the yard, planting a few tomato plants. Digging in the dirt on a sunny day, I was suddenly transported back to about 1970 when I would spend my summer days playing in a sandbox in our backyard.

It was wonderful, but sad at the same time, knowing Mom won't be here forever and that it's important to cherish the time we have together. Because after all, that's all any of us can hope for in life. After kids and career, it's really about spending time with family together and getting along.