Since I KNOW my mom is mad at me for posting that silly pic of her on this post, I decided to write a little bit about her. Just so you can see why it is that I look forward to her visits so much.
My mother was born and raised in Maine. She grew up the oldest of four girls. She was raised Catholic and went to Catholic School through the eighth grade. When she tells me stories of growing up I always picture her as the little girl with scabby knees, dressed in her Sunday best with a handful of mud and a twinkle in her eye! She helped take care of her younger sisters and watched boys! When she was in 8th grade she used to watch this cute, dangerous looking high school boy walking past the playground at her school. Then she would run as fast as she could to the other side of the school so that she could watch him again! When she realized that a girl she knew lived across the street from him, she used to go visit her just so that she could watch him working on his car in the yard.... my mom, the stalker! LOL
They started dating towards the end of her freshman year in high school. He was from "the wrong side of the tracks" and was quite the rebel. Think James Dean and you get the idea. He even looks a little like that in his pictures from back then. My mom was beautiful! They dated all through high school. My dad (the boy! In case you didn't guess...) came into my moms house one day and she was making a pie and had her hands all buttery and dirty. He held out a ring to her and before he could say a word she was running through the house to show her mom. They were planning the wedding before he even had a chance to ask her to marry him! LOL
They moved to FL not too long after they got married. My dad followed the work there. His father was there with his family so they at least had someone around. My mom says that she cried all the way to FL from ME. She was leaving behind everything she had ever known and all of her family. Poor mom. I know how she feels.
When they got down south, mom says it was like entering another country. This was back around 1963 or so... think civil rights movement, discrimination, back of the bus and water fountains.... my mom had never even seen a black person before. It was a definite culture shock.
Several years later my mom was pregnant with her first child when my dad got drafted. He was sent to Germany and my mother followed a little while later. They stayed there and my brother was born on the base in Germany. When he was about 3 1/2 months old they came back to America and to Florida.
My dad was an alcoholic. Still is as this is not a disease/ addiction that just goes away. My parent's relationship was strained at times and they eventually moved away from my dad's family. My grandfather was just contributing to my dad's drinking and other issues. They moved to central FL and their second child, another boy, was born. I followed 18 months later.
My mom worked hard all of her life. She raised us, kept house, had a garden and farm animals to take care of. She canned vegetables and made every penny my dad earned scream for mercy to keep us fed and clothed and with a roof over our head. My dad worked hard. Out in the FL sun as a bricklayer and then came home to dig in the garden and take care of animals. My mom always stuck by him and showed us a united front. We always knew our parents loved us. They showed us that a marriage was about commitment and a family was about love and joy. We had a great time as kids. We never even knew we were poor! At least not until we got older.
My mom started to work at the local elementary school the year that I started kindergarten. She is still working there. The work ethic that she and my dad taught us has stuck with all 3 of us kids. We all know how to work hard.
My mom has always supported us in anything that we chose to do. She has always had more confidence in my abilities than I do! She never pushed me too hard, she let me make my own mistakes and then held me and hugged when they blew up in my face and I came home crying. She listened to me, as a 15 year old know-it-all, tell her I hated her and never wanted to be like her. That I didn't want to waste my life. And then she cried and just ignored me.
She took a scared to death 19 year old who had just found out she was pregnant and let me know it was going to be OK. She helped me to actually enjoy my pregnancy amidst all of my fears. She never blamed me or was angry with me. She accepted my child and loved her from the moment she saw her. She let us live with her and helped me raise my daughter. While I was working 2 or 3 jobs and struggling to figure out who I was and what to do with my life... she was the steady, loving person in our lives. She was always there when I needed a shoulder. Always there when I needed someone to cry with. Always there to tell me I was doing fine, doing the right thing, raising my child correctly and being a good mom. She encouraged me to do anything I needed to do. She never judged me.
When I met my husband to be... she welcomed him into our lives. When I moved out and took The Girl with me... she missed us. It left a hole in her life. But she never tried to hold us there. She gave me her blessing and let me go. When I found out I was pregnant with the boy she was so excited for me! And she never pushed us to get married before I was ready.
We decided to make the move to MS. And it had to be devastating for her. We were very close. And she was a second mother to my daughter. They were like peas in a pod. But she never tried to talk us out of it. She supported our decision and told me she undertsood. She held strong and let us go. Let us lead our own lives and make our own mistakes.
She was there for me, on the phone and visits, when we struggled. She supported me emotionally through everything. When we found out we were pregnant again when The Boy was only 10 month sold.... she was excited for me again. She never said a negative word about our choices. She and my MIL helped us out financially and made our wedding possible. And made it my dream wedding.
Every horrible experience I have had I have always known who to call. I have known where I had an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, a friend to laugh with.
My mother taught me how to be a woman, a mother, a wife, a person. She showed me through her own actions. She taught me to be strong, compassionate, loving, stubborn, giving, caring, passionate, flexible, supportive, forgiving. She taught me the most important things I have learned in my life so far. She taught me that I can do anything I need to do. She taught me to be a strong, capable woman by being one herself.
Thanks Mom. Thanks for being who you are. And for teaching me to be who I am.