Front Row Seat: Mother's Day was always special -- even if I couldn't order french fries

by mike lesko | Reporter Published:

Mother's Day in our family always was a festive occasion filled with simple gestures that showed how much we appreciated my mom, Bettie Lesko.

With Mother's Day approaching, it is a good time to remember traditions we may have had with our moms.

On the day before the holiday, my dad -- Mike Lesko II -- bought flowers for my mom, but he always told her they were from me. My mother always acted like she really thought they were from me. My parents were so convincing that when I was a little kid, I practically believed it, too. It was a nice touch.

We always went to the same family restaurant in Lorain, where I grew up as an only child -- just like we did on Mom's birthday. My mother wore one of her best dresses, my father wore a suit -- and I had to wear a suit, too. Yech.

Dad's private message to me often was: "Don't spill any gravy on your suit. Mom won't be happy." It was good advice.

When I was very young, I'd try to order a hamburger and french fries. Mom would overrule me. "This is a special day," Mom told me. "You can have french fries some other time." Mom was correct.

Afterward, we'd drive to Lorain's Lakeview Park on the shores of Lake Erie, and Mom would take photos of me while I was still in my suit. "Aww, Mom, do we have to?" I would say, sounding like Beaver Cleaver from the TV show "Leave it to Beaver."

My dad, who in many ways was a real-life Ward Cleaver, Beaver's father, who was calm and understanding, would respond, "It won't take that long." Dad was right.

After we got home, Dad would give Mom a Mother's Day gift. It was always a useful item like a cooking pot, an electric can opener or stove gloves to protect one's hands from the heat.

Finally, Dad would pull out a card for Mom that listed our gratitude for a special woman. Mom would read the card out loud and always seemed very pleased. She'd set the card on the dining room table, where it would stay prominently for days.

The card and gifts seemed like the least we could do for a wife and mother who cooked meals, washed clothes, cleaned the house and directed the family.

In those days, she, like many mothers, was a stay-at-home mom who got me ready for school each morning after my dad left for work, making sure I was ready when the school bus pulled up at the end of our driveway.

When I arrived home in the afternoon, she was there waiting for me. And when Dad got home from work, his dinner was always ready.

Mom was the guiding force in our lives.

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187

Facebook: facebook.com/mike.lesko.378

Twitter: Mike Lesko@MikeLesko_RPC

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