In appreciation of mothers

Tim Chapman

As a newer parent with 2-year-old twins, I’m often thinking about the remarkable work and dedication of mothers. Living so far from my childhood home in Virginia, I don’t have as many opportunities to thank and hug the mothers in my immediate family. Fortunately, the kick-off to the International Peace Garden season provides a great chance for many in Manitoba and North Dakota to honor incredible women with the start of spring.

A scrumptious lunch and a free plant for every mom awaits as the grounds come back to life on Mother’s Day. One day, one meal, one gift – obviously, not enough to express the gratitude many of us feel. It’s just one way and a special tradition at the Peace Garden. If you can’t make it, don’t forget to share your gratitude in the best way that suits your family.

Join us for Mother’s Day Brunch at the International Peace Garden.

Mother’s Day is a unique experience for everyone. Our lives have been impacted by our own mothers and mother figures. My mind first goes to my own mom. 

My mother, Janet Chapman, gave birth to me and my 13 siblings. Her journey becomes more unique every year as the presence of larger families diminishes. We didn’t grow up on a farm or ranch. My father is a retired schoolteacher and mom dedicated her life to having a large family and raising us with grace, determination, and a little bit of discipline (never toward me, of course). 

The laundry and meals were never-ending. The on-time caravan to the Saturday vigil mass every week was never in question. Mom instilled a strong work-ethic in each of us and ran a mini babysitting empire. The expectation of some form of work by the age of 14 was a standard in our house. Slipping grades was not an option and somehow all 14 of us eventually earned university degrees — a great tribute to a woman who didn’t have that opportunity herself.

Her influence is felt throughout our home area. Once everyone was grown and on their own, mom went to work as a Kindergarten and First Grade teacher’s aide at St. Timothy’s School. This probably didn’t come as a surprise to many in the parish who saw the lady with 14 kids every week in the back pew — the only seating long enough to mostly fit the whole family. Her passion for children is incredible. 

International Peace Garden looking down the boundary line.

That passion was clearly passed on to my eight sisters — collectively mothers to 30 of my 45 nieces and nephews. My wife and sisters-in-law love hearing stories from mom because the numbers alone are hard to comprehend. 

I often feel I fall short in expressing my appreciation to my mother, but in her infinite wisdom and confidence she is quick to remind us how much a simple phone call or card means. 

Remember to not get too hung up on the gifts and grand gestures. Our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and more, do not do everything for that type of recognition. They do it all because they love us. So here’s to all of the Mothers out there. You are loved and appreciated more than any of us could possibly express. 

In peace, Tim.

Tim Chapman is the CEO at the International Peace Garden on the border of Manitoba and North Dakota. The Garden is open year-round and grooming ski trails for the first time this winter. Rent one of our cabins and enjoy a winter weekend that only the forest of the Turtle Mountains can provide.