It was mom’s birthday yesterday. She is well past the golden 60, but still rocks as always. I’ve been wracking my brains about how to pay a tribute to her in words. Not easy! Not one bit easy. She is so many things wrapped up in that round, cuddly, small body. Nevertheless, try I will. Here’s to you, Ma!
Everything in life grows as you grow and mature into an adult. My understanding of the world and the people in it changed, matured and grew with me. But the sounds, smells, memories, and everything associated with my mom always remains the same. It almost feels like I’ve crystallized her in time. I don’ think of her as someone who is in her 60s. She complaints endlessly about how old she is getting and how she’s beginning to feel the tides of old age slowly taking control. But she is as fresh as the early morning bud every time we speak. She is strong, funny, independent, a great hostess, an awesome cook (whose mom isn’t?) and a fantastic grandmom. She lights up a room when she’s in it.
It was rough for mom when she was growing up. She lost her dad when she was very little; took on the responsibility of the household at 15; supported her mother and two sisters all by herself.; went out-of-town to get an education (which was absolutely unheard of for women in the 50s in our community;) moved to a city from a rural town; found herself a job; brought her family over; ensured her sisters got an education; made sure they got jobs; got them married, and finally, she found dad, married him and had us. Her entire life is summed up in a paragraph. But the journey was nothing like it. It was painful, full of sacrifices, and terribly lonely for a large part. But her version of the same story is ripe with opportunities and promise. She is like that. She always helps us see the light at the end of the tunnel. A life’s lesson that helps each of us get by when life ain’t so dandy.
I was exceptionally difficult as a teenager. I have no idea how she didn’t give me up for adoption. I was rebellious, crazy, and refused to listen to anything she had to say. I’m glad she didn’t give up on me. I see her sacrifices now more than ever since I am walking in her shoes. Each time I lose my patience with the little one, I’m reminded of the times when mom didn’t lose hers. She is a treasure trove with all her musings and advice. I could go to her for anything at all, and I know I will find my answers. There hasn’t been a time when I’ve gone back disappointed.
For me, there are two incidents in my life that I will carry with me to the end of time:
– I was maybe 6 or 7 and having a crazy bronchitis attack. Mom took me out into the night and lay me on her lap and began rocking me. She told me about the stars and the night sky, and gently lulled me to sleep. This was at some crazy hour in the night and she sat there with me in her lap all through the night. This from someone who had a long day at work, and had to go back early next morning to work. I will never forget that night.
– I was 29 and in the labor room. Rock steady she stood by me and helped me have my son. She showed me a rite of passage for which, I am eternally grateful.
I love you ma, and there is nobody else who can ever take your place.