To celebrate Mother’s Day 2017, NFWL asked members to share their stories of their mothers and motherhood. Here is Minnesota State Senator Carrie Ruud’ story:
My Mother was an amazing woman. She came from a small town and grew up during the Great Depression with a large family and little resources. Often the stories she told were of their struggles but the stories always told a message of how they loved and helped each other. My Mother knew that her success in life depended on her getting an education. After graduation she went to college and got her “Teaching Certificate” and taught in a one room country school. When WWll broke out she and her teacher girlfriends went to the movies one Saturday and saw a” News Reel” about the war and they all went back and quit their jobs and joined the effort. My Mom joined the Red Cross and was on the front lines in Europe. Being a Veteran was something that she was proud of her whole life.
After the war ended she decided to finish her degree at the University of Minnesota. That is where she met my father. He wanted a big wedding but my Mom said what little money she had was to pay for her education so they eloped and she finished her degree.
There were four children in my family and when Dad temporarily lost his job my Mom jumped right in and went back to teaching. It was not easy in those days, day care was siblings taking care of siblings and I was the only one in school whose Mom worked outside of the home. Looking back I am awed by how she balanced it all. My younger sister was diagnosed with mental illness in her twenties and Mom was a tigress in protecting and taking care of her. Family always came first.
Mom had a great faith. We never missed a Sunday and were involved at many levels in our church. Until the day she passed at age 97 God was her guide. Her faithfulness has had an enormous impact on my life.
Traveling and learning were always important and on my mother’s bucket list was to get her Master’s degree. She whittled away at it and finally earned her Master’s in her late sixties just before she retired. After she retired she learned to cross country ski, took painting lessons and as she did through all her life supported her children, grandchildren, family and friends.
My Mother was a great role model. She taught me that women are equal to any task, any job, and they are not victims or inferior because they were born female. I think long before Nike coined the phrase “Just Do It” it was my Moms. When life circumstances happened she would simply say “don’t cry over spilled milk” and move on.
When I decided to run for office my folks were ecstatic and my biggest cheerleaders. My mom had the distinction of getting the most lawn signs out during door knocking. Who could resist an 87 year old lady with a walker full of literature! They campaigned tirelessly with me and enjoyed all the events. To this day when voting on issues I rely on the values that my family instilled in me and ask myself “what would Mom say?”
My Mom taught me that women are tough, resilient, capable, and beautifully feminine too and that God has a plan for all of us. I miss her very much.