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Memories of our mothers

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, the Bremerton Patriot asked a few local leaders to share their memories of that day and their mothers as well. State Rep. Christine Rolfes and Bremerton Housing Authority executive director Kurt Wiest responded and here are their stories about the special lady in each of their lives.

Kurt Wiest,

executive director Bremerton Housing Authority

My mother, Barbara Jane Rees Wiest, epitomizes grace, kindness, and empathy. I have no recollection of her acting out in anger towards me or any other person. (Although I heard second-hand she got a little sharp with the physical therapists during her recent recovery from knee replacement.)

My brothers and one sister were blessed with being raised and nurtured in a home by parents who placed our needs in front of theirs. Mom was there to send us off in the morning with a bright outlook on the day, and was present when we came home - always ready to listen to us and offer encouragement when things didn’t quite go our way.

She created a warm and inviting refuge for us to return to. Even now, when I walk through the front door of the family home, I get the absolute sense that I am walking into a place where I am loved and wanted. Every child deserves that same feeling.

State Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island

I have a twin brother, and my younger brother and sister are also twins, born less than two years after us. Growing up, my mother seemed organized and disciplined. Later she admitted that she would watch my father pull out of the driveway on his way to work, and cry at the prospect of spending the day home alone with four kids in diapers. She really couldn’t leave the house with all of us. And no one wanted to babysit.

We never knew it was work. As we got older she frequently turned the ordinary into the special - four children in a grocery cart became a hunt for treasure in the aisles; a dark basement became a play area with her cheerfully painted walls; parakeets and guinea pigs were allowed to roam free. Libraries and local parks were thoroughly explored. But she expected us to follow the rules and instilled a strong sense of duty to act civilized when out in public. We were expected to do chores and contribute to the family.

Even on Mother’s Day we didn’t really focus on Mom — our family usually spent it with my Grandma who lived a short drive away. But from my mother I learned that in a family it’s not about you, it’s about “we.” That the simplest events can be adventures. And that everyone has to do their best if you want the “we” and the adventure to be successful.

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