Some days I want my mommy. Do you ever have those days where you just want to be a kid again and let your mom handle everything? Those days are fewer now that my children are grown but I still feel like I’ve not graduated to the adult class yet. When someone looks for an adult to answer those difficult questions or handle the tough decisions, I look around for a real adult.
I’m so thankful I still have my mom. Some days we rub against each other like sandpaper and a porcupine, but other days, she is my staunchest ally. After losing my dad, I’ve tried to spend more time with my mom. I know I can’t make up for him not being here but I can try to let her know how much I care.
Mom and I have always been close, but over the years our lives turned in different directions. I raised six rowdy boys and she raised one timid girl. I had to learn to do things because there was never any extra money, six kids require a lot of time and money. David and I were very active with the boys: Scouts, ball, and church. Mom, timid and quiet didn’t take a leadership role in my Scouts or school projects, but she was always there, willing to help.
We had a getting reacquainted period after mom broke her hip and later moved into her own apartment. I started taking Mom with me to my writers’ group meetings, luncheons and stuff. She began to see me differently. Having her like and respect my work and the effort it took to get it ready to publish was one of the greatest gifts she could have ever given me. It made me feel validated as a writer but also as her child. I think we all desire our parents’ approval and respect.
Perhaps that is what parents desire as well. Recently, I’ve come to know more of her story. My mom has always been shy and unsure of her own worth, taking after her own humble father. Most everyone who knows Mom, loves her. She has a kindness and gentle understanding that is inherent to her personality. So much of who she is as a person was lost to me as a child, I believed her to be weak and fragile. Discovering the strength she kept hidden beneath her softness has been enlightening.
Mom was the oldest of four children, raised by a share-cropper father with a third-grade education and a mother would have made a better CEO than mother. My grandmother was born in the wrong era. She would have been a great business woman had she had the opportunity. She started her own business later in life and managed to save the money to buy a piece of land and put a trailer on it. She sold products out of the back of her station wagon. An amazing woman, with an over-powering personality, she and mom often didn’t understand each other. There was no doubt of grandmother’s love, she was big hearted, strong and tough, she had to be. Her second child, a son began having seizures as an infant and never advanced mentally from that stage. Grandmother’s early years were difficult. It is a testament to her strength and character that she thrived. But her toughness didn’t always blend well with the quiet gentleness of her oldest daughter.
Knowing more of my mother’s story, helps me understand and respect her. She never felt as strong as her own mother who handled every situation with bull-headed determination and faith. Grandmother didn’t stop working, fussing or believing until the job was done. Whatever she needed to do to accomplish her goals, that’s what she did. Mom’s strength was more passive, quieter, giving her the appearance of a damsel in distress. Like her mother, Mom just put her head down and kept going until the job was done, just with less fussing.
Seeing my mother as a woman, instead of just my mom, has helped me to see her beauty and grace. She was never a damsel in distress, she allowed dad and I to feel like we were the strong ones while we believed we were protecting her and helping her.
As we near Mother’s Day, I am thankful for my mom and for the women in my life who have showed me there is more than one way to be strong. Happy Mother’s Day!