THANK YOU: Doris Eastman gave her kids the gifts of hard work, kindness and lifelong friendships

The Eastman kids have the fondest memories of their childhood, when so many lessons from their parents added up to a great big impact on the way they lived their lives.

Debbi, Jean, Mitch, Vicki, Lori and Scott grew up in a happy, healthy home where newspaper protected clean floors, pillow cases were ironed and the scent of clean sheets filled the air. It was all built on love with family emphasized responsibility and compassion.

Doris Eastman had a particular way she did things, and she and her husband Bill preached hard work, order and caring for others. The kids loved and respected each other, rarely bickered and became best friends for life. They were guided by Doris’ example every step of the way.

“She was a very hardworking, lovely housekeeper,” Jean said. “She was very proud of how she kept her home, and she went over and above. As we girls become like our mother that way, we love to make our homes look nice when people come to visit, and we hang up the bedding on the line instead of using a dryer.

“As soon as we got home from school, we could smell fresh sheets on our beds and I couldn’t wait to go to bed that night. As kids, I don’t know if we appreciated it in that moment, but those are memories that make me smile. She was a wonderful housekeeper and host to family and friends.”

Raised as an only child, Doris embraced responsibility in her youth and later mastered the art of organized chaos with six kids of her own. She had all the talent and ability to thrive in any number of professions, but she did it in the most important way she knew: by being the best mother she could be. Doris worked tirelessly to make all six feel safe and loved.

“Imagine the work,” Debbi said. “She, herself, is an only child, so six children must have seemed overwhelming, but we always had clean clothes, great food, love and safety. She didn’t ever let us down. She sacrificed so much more for us.

“If you were to have paid her for all her duties and commitments to this family, her salary would be astronomical. She persevered. She worked hard. She struggled. She nurtured us. She made us who we are today.”

That didn’t happen without some personal struggles, of course, but the real inspiration to her children came in the way Doris triumphed by developing a relationship with Jesus. Walking with Christ was an inspiration in itself, but so was the fact that neither her own ups nor downs changed the way Doris treated people.

Her compassion and empathy have always been two of her most remarkable qualities.

“Mom is sensitive, tender-hearted, and compassionate,” Lori said. “She finds joy in doing things for others. If someone she is with starts to cry, she will cry along with them.”

Doris’ influence is clear on her kids to this day. They have the fondest memories of growing up together and they care deeply for one another. Their relationships are a testament to Doris and Bill for the home life they created and the values they instilled in them at an early age.

“Life in a house with six kids was awesome,” Lori exclaimed. “I loved it. I was the fifth of six. My siblings were, and always will be, my best friends. Each sibling is special and meets a different need in my life. I would not be whole without them.”

“As the clock keeps ticking and we are all getting older, we come to realize how short this life is and that it needs to be cherished,” Debbi added. “We would do anything for each other.”

That fact can be offered up as proof of how many things Doris did right as a mother. All of her kids grew up knowing and understanding they were on the same team, and they were proud of the roles they played.

“We took on responsibility quite early,” Jean said. “I never remember having big arguments among ourselves because we had to work together with chores. We knew it was hard and we had to make it work to get things done.”

Hard work has always been in Doris and Bill’s DNA from the time they met outside a big garage party. Bill was born into a family with a long history of business ownership and hard work, and he grew up with newspaper routes, chores and work at the family paint store.

Doris got her start at Porter’s, where she worked as a bookkeeper and found a love for fashion. To this day, she has a photographic memory of the gowns she wore, where she wore them and where they came from.

Doris later channeled that eye into the upkeep and decoration of her own home and anything the family ever purchased. That, too, was a lesson handed down to her kids, who washed cars, cut grass and otherwise understood the value of everyday things.

This Mother’s Day, they reflected on Doris’ influence and the lessons she taught them, big and small, that helped shape who they are. Doris was so influential in the process and molded children who strived to be just like her.

The Eastman kids’ hearts are in the right places. They pursue the love of Jesus and treat others with respect. They work hard and value the little things in life. Add it all up, and it’s the ultimate testament to Doris’ parenting and her values.

Jean said:

“Thank you, Mom:

For fresh-smelling sheets,

Newspaper lined floors,

Cold chicken legs,

The best macaroni and cheese,

Ironed pillow cases,

Pitchers of Kool-Aid,

Picking me up from work at 2 a.m.,

But most of all for raising me to be a woman of servanthood, compassion and love of God!  

I will always be your little girl – and I will always NEED you! Happy Mother’s Day.”

“A family like we have doesn’t just happen,” Lori added. “It was the result of a lot of love, sacrifice, and hard work by our parents. It couldn’t have been easy for them, but they stuck it out. They were obedient to God’s word and raised their children to ‘Fear the Lord’ in the very most effective sense of the term.

“I will forever be grateful to Mom and Dad for that foundation. And just as His word promises, that blessing will be passed on for generations to come, including my own children and grandchildren. ‘Oh, to know that truth and allow it to bring you peace!’”

“As I grow older I see my mother through a clearer lens,” oldest son, Mitch said. “I never saw her gifts and strengths as a child but do now as an adult. She was – and is – incredibly talented, sensitive and creative. She wasn’t just a great cook, she was a thrifty one as well. She sure knew how to stretch a can of tuna. I love my mom!”

And from Debbi:

“Mom, through everything, we still stand strong. We still love on each other. We still cherish each other. We appreciate the wrinkles and worry lines that dot our faces and the arthritis that warps our hands.  We still laugh at our forgetfulness and idiosyncrasies. We will be united forever.

So, God bless you on this special Mother’s Day and each and every day. Know you are cherished and loved beyond words. Know that nothing can separate us. I will always be your daughter and you will always be my Bestest Mom! Love Always, Debbi.”



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