My Mom: A Commercial Fishing Wife and Mother

Each morning this week, the local news encouraged its viewers to send in their “Amazing Mom” stories.

One of the first stories they read was entitled, “My Mom Saved My Life!” (Uh, how about the fact that she gave life in the first place? Isn’t that equally amazing?) Anyway, I think that all moms who raise their children and do what they need to do to maintain their homes are amazing. (I also think that “amazing” is relative. But enough of that…I’ll save that discussion for another day.)

I wasn’t about to submit a story to the news, but I’d like to tell you about an “amazing” mom that I know…my own. My parents have been married for over 40 years, and my mom has spent all of those years as the wife of a commercial fisherman and the mother of three girls.

I have a book (Old Friend from Far Away, by Natalie Goldberg) that I flip through at times when looking for writing prompts.  One of the prompts that I came across recently read, “Tell me about your mother’s hands.”

When I was growing up, my mother’s hands were always busy, especially when my dad was in Alaska catching king crab, snow crab, blackcod, halibut, or salmon. While maintaining the home front, my mom mowed the lawn, maintained her flowers, climbed ladders to clean the gutters, and could paint the outside and inside of a house.

Her hands drove our cars in to be repaired, and they rearranged living room furniture and decorated the rooms of my sisters and me. Her hands sewed clothes, stuffed animals, and dolls, and drove all three of us to gymnastics, ballet, piano, track, swimming, and volleyball.

Her hands cooked our meals, cleaned the house, and took us to the ER when we sprained our ankles or suffered bloody head wounds from crashes while roller skating down our hill. Those hands answered the phone whenever my dad called from Alaska, and they handed the phone off to each one of my sisters and me so we could talk to Dad, too.

Mom’s hands wrote checks to pay the bills when money was both tight and plentiful. They drove her to the nighttime bookkeeping class where she learned how to do the books for the family fishing business, as well as to the woodworking class where she built a new lounging chair for the back deck of our home.

To keep it real, I’ll admit that those hands were used for a few other purposes, as well. My younger sister and I shared a good laugh just last night about the day Mom chased my sister into our shared bedroom and pulled her out from her hiding place under the bunk beds to deliver a much deserved spanking. Or the time Mom flung Rolanda, my sister’s Cabbage Patch Kid, against the wall in the hallway. I understand now how things could have, at times, just become too hard or too much.  

However, when I think of what my mom was expected to do, had to do, and wanted to do for her husband and children during all of her years as a commercial fishing wife and mother, I am in awe. Hers are a pair of hands that have never stopped working for her family.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!


  1. Oh my, that is certainly a great Mother’s day present. You certainly said it all. I came away thinking to myself , “did I do all that?”

  2. you most certainly did do ALL of that plus more! saxophone lessons, soccer practice, baseball games, math classes, and on and on, and i feel horrible making your job even harder being the brat i was…!:)

Leave a Reply