Friday, May 09, 2008
She always wanted to be a mom. When she and Dad started trying to have babies she had all sorts of difficulty so they adopted me. Almost three years later she had the happy surprise of giving birth to my brother. She taught me to read before I ever started school. She was always of the opinion that if a child has an honest question they deserve an honest answer...and boy, did I drive her nuts with endless questions. She never brushed me off if I wanted to learn what she was doing. She taught me kids matter.
She's an accomplished seamstress and quilter. She's a pretty good carpenter too. She taught herself how to play guitar when she was a single mother with a crappy factory job wondering how she'd scrape enough money together for bills and food. Even though she worked for a greedy factory owner who regularly cheated his employees out of honest earned wages she managed to keep my brother and me fed and clothed through her resourcefulness and creativity. When we were teens she went to night classes to get some skills to land her an office job. She may just be an administrative assistant but she's the one who keeps all the computers and technology functioning in her office and the one people call when their machines go kaflooey. In recent years she decided she wanted to learn to play harp. Now she gets paying gigs on occasion. (Do harpists get "gigs?" Somehow it seems there should be a classier word...). She taught me to persevere and never stop learning and to find a way to feed your spirit especially when things are tough.
Even though her father was alcoholic and her mother was not really there for her when she was a kid she managed to forgive them and see the good they had, thus allowing them to bloom into being magnificent grandparents. Even though my Dad left when we were very young she'd never tolerate us speaking disrespectfully of him and she maintained a very close relationship with my paternal grandparents until the day they died many, many years later. They often said she was more of a daughter than either of their boys was a son. She taught me to avoid bitterness.
She painted our house purple. She builds crazy contraptions in her front yard to keep the birds from eating all the cherries off her tree. She sews up her own purses so she can put harps and butterflies all over them. She taught me to be myself even if it means being different.
She welcomed 4 of us back into the house (Isaac wasn't born yet) when we came back from Trinidad while my husband looked for work. She cares about my friends and how they are even if she doesn't know them well. She has always been there to help me or my kids if we needed it. She is a surrogate grandma to other little kids who need the extra loving (well, ok, and so she can get her own fix of little kid energy and enthusiasm now that mine are big kids.) She taught me hearts expand to make room for others.
Is she perfect? Nope. I could list faults and she could tell you all of mine. But she's my mom and she taught me we don't have to be perfect. We just need to keep trying and growing.
This week I'm counting Mom.