Today is Mother’s Day (at least here in North America), a day set aside to honor the person who either brought you into this life or nurtured you during your formidable years. Everyone has a mother or mother figure in one way or another, even myself. So, what can I say about my mom?
My mom is the person who cared fiercely for my sister and I after she and our father divorced when we weren’t yet 4 years old. She cared for us and protected us even though it necessitated moving back to her hometown and renting out a house that didn’t look too glamorous, relying on the support and assistance of her own parents, siblings, and friends as she worked an odd job or two to support us.
My mom is a very strong-willed person who can steer her own ship. She moved us clear across the state to seek out a vocation as a dental assistant, again to support us when we were barely entering our school years. I vividly remember photos of the day she graduated from training; I’ve never seen her look so proud.
My mom is the one who, after marrying her second husband, put aside her vocation to give birth to and raise a third child, my little sister, only to start a new profession after our we relocated when our stepfather sought a new employer. Becoming a cook seemed to be a natural for Mom; heck, she still does it part-time today.
My mom is one who tried to raise us right, saying good words for when we did something good, but never afraid to treat us sternly if we did something wrong. I highlight this because she is the one who discovered my sister’s bathing suits in my dresser drawer and put the fear of God into me. (I’ll detail this in a later post, I promise.)
My mom is the one who encouraged my sisters and I — nay, pushed us — to better our own futures, even if we made our own missteps along the way or became discouraged or downright scared. Sure, she expressed disappointment and worry when we fell down in life, but she was right there to push us forward.
My mom is the one who made another huge leap when, after turning 50, moved to another area and bought a bar and restaurant. Running her own business wasn’t easy, it was expensive, and it proved to be hard on her body. Nevertheless, she did an awesome job, using it to build lots of goodwill and a list of friends and faithful customers by the time she sold the business 3 years ago. She didn’t stop, however; she currently works part-time performing cooking and housekeeping duties at a retirement home down the block from where she lives.
My mom is, as I noted above, a strong-willed person, going through so much in her life from changes in jobs to changes in locations to two marriages and two divorces. Mom is so strong-willed and proud that that sometimes she doesn’t like to seek help from anyone, even when she truly needs it. I bring this up because she lost her house to the bank earlier this year and was this close to being out on the street. It was perhaps the first time I ever noticed her truly admitting she needed assistance in her life (and she’d be too proud to admit even that). Luckily, and thanks to my sister and her husband, she still has the same roof over her head, albeit with conditions. (It’s something I hope to go into detail as well in another post real soon.)
I think my sisters and I have learned a lot about being strong and staying strong through the ups and downs of life from our mom. When I think of it, Mom has also been one who sought to make others happy, be it our children, her friends and relatives, or even those who enjoyed her cooking or the crafts she made on the side. (I have some of her handiwork in my apartment and will treasure every little piece as if it’s a centuries-old family heirloom.)
Our mom is now in the winter of her years (she’s 68), and there may very well come a time when we will have to care for her on a regular basis the same way she cared for us. And when the day comes when she’ll no longer be a part of our lives, we will certainly have an empty feeling from the loss of someone who molded us, taught us so many things, and meant so much to our lives. We may not always show or admit it, and our lives and decisions may not always be what she had hoped or expected, but we know that our mom is proud of the 3 children she brought into this world, just as we are proud and thankful for the person she turned out to be.
Our family didn’t make any big plans for Mother’s Day this year; there will be no big get-together where the kids from out-of-town (my little sister and I) visit and have a big brunch with our mom thrown by our other sister who lives in the same town as her (and can keep a watchful eye on her well being). But, I imagine our mom wouldn’t mind if the big brunch didn’t happen. They’ll know we’ll call her and send her a card to express our gratitude and admiration, as well as any concerns we may have for her. Knowing Mom, she’ll probably be satisfied to visit and play with her grandchildren if she has the chance today.
Here’s all the best to my mom on Mother’s Day; here’s hoping the mother or mothers in your life get all the best today as well.