Monday, August 4, 2008
Mom and Me
Today would have been my mother's 78th birthday. She died on Aug. 8, 1995. She was a wonderful mother, and I adored her. I'm not going to say we didn't have our mother/daughter fights, because we did. [Like Bill Cosby's mom, my mother was also an expert on pigsties. Because she told me that I'd had the "worst pigsty I've ever seen."]
I always appreciated the fact that she was always there for me, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. She came from a poor family (not uncommon in the depression years she grew up in) but she was always rich in love. She supported me in everything I did and never tried to box me in as some mothers did in the 50s and 60s with daughters. She never said things like "Girls don't do X, girls don't do Y." She always said "If you think it will be fun, just do it." I didn't fully appreciate this until I was older.
Given the time frame my parents grew up in, a good education was hard to come by and neither graduated high school, much less college. But they always provided me with all the books I wanted and made sure I got the intellectual stimulation I needed and I was provided with all the education I wanted. I was the first girl, either side of the family to graduate from college. [Though granted I am blessed with far more male 1st cousins than female.]
My mother hated petty gossip and was not what you would call particularly a "joiner" though she did have her friends. She always kept busy with raising me and looking after my dad and she did the bill paying, gardening, most of the housework, and a lot of the home maintenance work (dad had the "two left thumbs" gene but mom got her dad's "golden hands.") She was a great cook - nothing "fancy" but she made all the beloved ethnic foods of my heritage (Easter was always our favorite time of the year, and Christmas a distant 2nd.) How wonderful to come home from school at lunchtime and have a nice hot vegetable soup and a toasted cheese sandwich. You could taste the love that went into it. When I was small I was the recipient of many handmade dresses and skirts. She also drove my lazy carcass to school when I didn't get up in time to catch the school bus. We loved to travel together.
She was usually a daily Mass goer, and the best thing she ever did for me was pass on her faith. My dearest memories of her were going to Benedictions and prayer hours with her when I was growing up, and her listening to my prayers at night.
There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss her. The above photo was the one my dad carried in his wallet until the day he died.