Have You Met My Mother?

My Mom and me in 1966

I would like to introduce you to my favorite lady in the entire world. Her name is Nancy Getts and I am the luckiest person around because she is my Mother.

Everything I know about being a mother (and a Grandmother!) I learned from my Mom. She has dedicated her entire life to mothering and grandmothering. I can tell you, she is a tough act to follow!

Shortly after my parents were married, Mom’s own mother died after a very short cancer battle. Mom and Dad, unhesitatingly moved in with her Dad, my Grandpa John, so they could help take care of her little brother Ron, who was only six at the time. This selfless act was the precedent she set for a lifetime of putting other people’s needs before her own.

My mom is trained as a hairdresser but she chose to stay home with us and keep the house running smoothly since my dad was often out of town working on the railroad. She did have relatives and some friends come to our house to have their hair done. It was always exciting when Mom hauled out the permanent rods and the great blue bubble top hair dryer that her patrons could sit under. I loved to hang out in the kitchen and eavesdrop on the adult conversation. I admire the way she continued to keep up with the latest techniques by taking a refresher class every once in a while. To this day, her license is current in the state of Indiana and she is the preferred barber for my dad and her brother, Jim.

Her self sacrificing love for her own children was only the beginning of the example she set for me. Every boyfriend or girlfriend we brought home was embraced and welcomed, even at the holidays. She was thoughtful about inviting my dad’s parents to our house on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I once asked my Grandma Getts how we always got to have them as holiday guests (my dad was one of six) and she told me that no one else ever asked! My mom is very thoughtful in that way. There was always room at our table for one more.

Mom and me, October 2019

There is also always room at the Inn in Garrett. Over the years, Mom and Dad have opened their home countless times, to me and my nomadic family. Whether we needed a place to crash for a weekend or many weeks (or a summer!), we always knew we had a home away from home with them. They have taken in my kids and their friends when classes or events brought them anywhere near Northern Indiana. My mom and dad are the most welcoming hosts!

I could write an entire book on what a wonderful Grandmother my mom is. Even though I lived all over the world with my roving Air Force family, Mom always made it a priority to come and visit us wherever we were stationed. She overcame serious misgivings about air travel and made many domestic and several trans-pacific flights ( we lived in South Korea for 4 years). She and Dad logged unimaginable miles on their mini-van in the quest to stay connected.

When my children got older they made the trip from Garrett to the Washington area numerous times to hear them perform in concerts, watch them play basketball or lacrosse, or just spend precious time making good relationships with every one of my seven kids. They made it to nearly every sacrament they received and they have been at each graduation. It was time well invested, she is beloved by them (and their kids!).

Did I tell you my mom is a sewing wizard? My mom can sew ANYTHING. No task is too daunting for her. She once sewed a new cover for a boat, using the old one as a pattern. She has covered boat cushions, and made soooo many sets of curtains (many for my houses!). She has sewn First Communion dresses, prom dresses, graduation dresses, and flower girl dresses. We have all snuggled down for our long winters’ naps enveloped in comfy jammies sewn by Mom.

Kris and Grandma at a Tavern in Michigan October 2019

My Mom is an outdoors woman. She is an avid fisherwoman, joining Dad on the river on the frostiest of mornings. She sewed the first seeds of my ever growing love of being outside. Mom and Dad took us camping most summers and every fall since I was 2 years old. My brothers and I were allowed to roam around Coho Bend Campground in Manistee, Michigan for hours at a time. We explored the woods, roller skated under the cement pavilion and fished the pond with bread balls. This time of unsupervised play gave me the gift of wonder and appreciation for the outdoor world that persists to this day.

Mom and her best friend Kitty, in front of their camper in Michigan

I could go on and on, extolling for many lines, the virtues of my Mom and I still would not come close to being able to list all of the ways I admire her. Today is her birthday and I just want her to know how incredibly special she is to me. I want to tell her how much I love her. Oh how I wish for just a short visit, a cup of coffee, a hug!

Covid 19 has made it impossible for us to visit in person. I miss her and my dad so much these days.

Cheers to you, Mom, on your birthday. You deserve more than just a day. Please know how much you mean to me and John and all of our family. You are the best!

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