Special note: Happy Mother’s Day, and thanks to everyone who purchased a copy of my book. Sales have exceeded expectations! If you’ve read it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon. You can do that from your Amazon order history page. If you haven’t bought a copy yet, you really should! It makes a great gift, and the money goes to a good cause!


Mom in her early twenties

As we get older, our relationship with time changes. Time moves out of the shadows, and assumes a position of prominence. People we love move on, we will too. A century is history’s blink of an eye,  and yet it contains everyone we will ever know. 

Today we honor mothers contributions to our lives. My mom has been gone for fourteen years. It’s impossible to separate the part of me that comes from her. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us. Mom lives on in the many lives she touched. 

How can I capture a life that meant so much to me in 500 words? It’s a humbling undertaking. The following short reflection was included in my book. Mom never liked to draw attention to herself, but I hope she approves of my words.


My Mom, Phyllis Mae Prien, was born in 1928. She and her twin brother were the last of ten children born in the short span of twelve years.

Mom’s dad was a machinist. He worked two jobs to support his large family. Her mother ran the household, including the herculean task of preparing meals for thirteen people every day. 

Mom didn’t get the opportunity to attend college. Money was tight in her family, and boys’ education was prioritized. Mom was talented, especially in sewing and arts and crafts. She made her own wedding dress in addition to the dresses for all her bridesmaids.

Money was also fairly tight in our family. Mom was highly creative in providing entertainment on a budget. Our summers were filled with trips to museums, art projects, and Mom’s favorite, swimming in community pools. I don’t ever remember Mom buying anything for herself, but she always made sure we had new shoes and nice clothes to wear.

Mom’s life revolved around family. Whenever we were sick, she stayed up all night by our bedside, bringing cool wash rags and ice chips to help us feel better.

Mom was an active cub scout and brownie troop “den mother.” She also spent countless hours schlepping us to music lessons. I credit my love of music and the arts entirely to Mom. She had a great singing voice and was a church choir member for decades. I can still hear her strong tenor voice ringing out Christmas Carols in our home. 

Mom was our buddy. She could fix anything. One day my beloved microscope broke, and Mom took it apart to troubleshoot the issue, disassembling the numerous tiny lens groups in the process. When she put it all back together, it functioned perfectly.

Whenever we lost something, Mom could always find it. I could hunt for what seemed like hours for an item lost in the grass, and mom would find it in no time. 

Mom was an excellent pastry chef. I have never eaten a pie as tasty as hers.

Mom was adventurous. When I bought my first mini-bike, she couldn’t wait to give it a go. Following brief instructions covering throttle, brakes, clutch, and gears. Mom climbed on, twisted the throttle wide-open, and dropped the clutch. She screamed across the yard in a wheelie trailing a blue cloud of  smoke before being thrown over the handlebars. 

Mom struggled with bipolar disorder that worsened as she got older. Anxiety-ridden dementia plagued her elder years. Despite her personal challenges, she never focused on herself. Mom’s life was dedicated to us. 

Life can be difficult. Some challenges can’t be overcome. But in the end, it’s our impact on others that truly makes a difference.

I can’t imagine having a better mother.  

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!


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5 Replies to “Mom”

  1. As I sit in the backyard of my family home, I can’t help but think of Mom today. All the flowers she planted and the gardens she kept. She passed on that joy to me being patient to dig holes so that I could place the flowers and a cup of water in before filling them with the dirt again. I never thought of Mother’s Day being a slightly sad day for my own mom. I am sure it was a reminder of her own mom and I’m sure she missed her greatly. But what joy our memories bring to us in later years. Joys that last a lifetime. So as I sit here enjoying a beautiful sunny day surrounded with flower gardens and pots of flowers I feel Mom close by.


  2. Happy Mother’s Day is sooooooo correct !!! Mother’s have traditionally been the glue that holds all the Family together—- My mother had five children and loved each of us so much—-individually and collectively !! She accidentally died in a bicycle accident 51 years ago but her love and spirit continues on in each of us—God Bless Her !!


  3. I love reading about your Mom—all that she meant to you and I can see where your creativity, great love for problem solving , courage and compassion come from. She left a beautiful fountain in your heart.

    Happy Mothers Day to your Mom in heaven and I am grateful she raised you and honored to call you a friend.

    Best quote of my week…and a wonderful reminder of what is really important …

    Life can be difficult. Some challenges can’t be overcome. But in the end, it’s our impact on others that truly makes a difference.


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