I love my Mom. Until recently I don’t think I realized how truly blessed I am to have had her in my life.
On a women’s forum the question came up as to whether we wanted to be like our mother or not and how successful we’d been in that goal. I responded that if I were half the woman my Mom was that I’d be a remarkable human being. Over the next couple weeks others posted their observations about their mothers poor decision-making, angry personalities or other decided failings.
Laughter: So many times Mom and I laughed until we cried, the tears of laughter streaming down our faces like rivers of joy. Sometimes we had to hang on each other or risk falling down and rolling around on the floor. I can’t think of one other person in my life I’ve shared that sort of laughter with. I guess she took that particular form of joy along with her when she left.
Renaissance Woman: Mom sewed clothes, tailored, founded and ran her own business, did her own bookkeeping, handled all the production schedules, did all the record keeping and ordering, did the production work and the delivery and did it looking like a classy Western businesswoman. She cooked, cleaned, organized the house, raised a garden the size of a small Eastern state – canning and freezing food – and sending me door to door to give away all the food we overproduced and couldn’t eat. Mom played the piano, taught me the joys of the Polish musical genius, Frederic Chopin, and accompanied me when I was studying voice. If it wasn’t for her I might never have beaten dyslexia. She found ways to help me before there was any treatment for something she didn’t know I had. She was amazing in what she could do. I am still astounded by her capacity for being able to do seemingly everything she turned her hand and mind to.
Gifts: Mom was warm, loving, positive, genuinely caring, kind, compassionate, the kind of person who invested in making the lives of others better. She gave of herself in so many ways to so many people. She taught me it is not the words we say, but the acts we perform that make a difference in our own lives and the lives of others. She practically fed another family who were having hard times. Mom was truly humble; she never sought any recognition for all her good works – which were legion. She is the reason I ended up in social work – helping others one life at a time.
I’m sure that there were times she must have shaken her head over me, but she never made me feel as if I was a screw-up. She had endless patience with me – and as an ADD/ADHD, dyslexic hard-of-hearing kid with dyscalculia I bet I was a handful.
Mom did tell me once I was the hardest kid to raise because I watched my older sister and brother and in trying not to make the same mistakes I made all new ones she didn’t anticipate.
I think this illustrates her point: I remember one night I picked up a bottle of Strawberry wine that was on the counter. My sister-in-law’s mom had made it for them. I peered at it because it looked like tomatoes “working” (spoiling) to me. Just then the top blew off (thank heavens the bottle didn’t explode!) and shot rotting strawberry wine all over. I was trying to get it over the sink while it geysered – slipping and sliding as the rotten wine spurted through my fingers. It was like trying to hold warm, shaken soda in a bottle. I’m not sure I managed to get much down the drain because it was everywhere on Mom’s bone-white kitchen walls and ceiling – and me. It was running down my hair, dripping in my eyes, and I reeked of rotten wine. I tried to get it cleaned up as best I could and stripped off most of my soaked and stinking clothing. Then I had to wake Mom up because it was such a disaster. She opened her eyes and groaned, “Oh, my God, you’re drunk.” It took the better part of the rest of the night to clean the kitchen. We found rotten strawberry drops for months. It is like confetti – confetti lives on in shag carpets forever. We could not clean the stain off the walls. I had to primer them – twice – and repaint them. My clothes never did come clean and I smelled like rotten strawberries for a couple of days even after repeated scrubbings. That’s what she meant, I think, by the kind of things I got into. And no, I was not drunk. I was sober as a judge.
I can’t remember one time she lost her temper with me. There must have been at least once, but I don’t remember it – or maybe she really was the Saint I remember her to be.
And I can’t remember ever being really upset with her except the time she ran over my foot with the car. It was the only time I ever remember yelling at her. Of course, I was hopping around holding my bruised foot at the time. I did apologize later. She didn’t mean to run over my foot, after all. And we both learned something from it – like the fact I needed to get out of the way when she pulled out of the driveway.
If there is an after world – something none of us will be able to ascertain for sure until we are dead – hers is the first face I want to see, the first arms I want to fall into, and I want to laugh until the tears run down our faces and we have to hold each other for eternity to keep from falling down and rolling around on the floor in helpless laughter. Later, I’d like to meet her father, but I want to spend the first few eons with her.
Mom… Miss ya. Mean it. You’re my hero. You always have been. You always will be. I have done my best to model my life on yours; avoiding the few potholes you fell into during your life journey. Our lives might not have been able to be more different if I tried, but I’ve always put my actions first and words second. I hope you approve. I could not, in any reality, wish for a better mother than you. It is a love story – I love you now and forever. If there is one thing I have learned it is that love never dies.