Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day


Tomorrow is Mother's Day. I've been contemplating what I'd write for this occasion and nothing really jumped out at me. I decided to just sit down and let my fingers do the talking. Sometimes, my best writing just spills from my phalanges. More so, it flows from my heart.


My mother, Mary Caroline, lost a short term battle with ovarian cancer in June of 1981. I think we found out in March, 1981 after a surgery that was merely to correct diverticulitis. Truly, I believe that was just a cover. Mom didn't want to face reality and her presumed early mortality. Her mother died of cancer. Therefore, so shall she. BUNK!


I lived an angry existence after her passing. I hid it from everybody, but it was underneath. I didn't lash out or rebel. I believed my mother was watching me and I didn't want to let her down. I never did. Everything in my life up to that point was about making Momma and Dad happy. No regrets, mind you. I was the youngest child of eight. Looking back I feel that I had to fight for every morsel of attention given to me. There is no doubt that Momma loved me. She had a special brand of love for each of us. She viewed us as individuals and treated us as such. I've struggled over these 27 years about her love. For whatever reason, my subconscious only remembered more of the bitter than the sweet. Finally, I have released the anger. I wasn't really angry with her. I was angry that cancer got her. I was angry that she didn't take better care of herself. I was just angry.


I finally started coming to terms with the realization that she wasn't gone on a convention with The Bonnie Belles (barbershop chorus/Sweet Adelines). I had graduated from high school. Most of my close friends went away to college and life as I knew it ceased to exist. I found new friends, worked part time, and went to Kankakee Community College full-time. I survived. I still didn't rebel. It would have been temporarily excusable if I had, but I chose to just be a regular teen ager. I rather enjoyed being known as the 'good kid.'



I had been fortunate to have friends whose mothers loved me. My friend Karen's parents were an integral part of maintaining my sense of family and gave me guidance during my mother's illness and death. They took me to church, invited me to family get togethers and delivered tough love when I (we) needed it. I never took offense. They loved me. I spent many hours at their home. It was the structure I required. And boy oh boy was Karen's mom strict! To this day KK tells me she still irons her sheets and pillow cases. Never is laundry put in the closet without being ironed first.


My dear friend Tommy's mom was always welcoming to everybody who befriended her son. She's still like that. There was such a sense of comfort sitting in her living room and just hanging out. She never made us feel intrusive. We were a goofy brand of kids. She'd just laugh along with us. What makes her even more special is that she knew my mother and her brothers. They all went to Catholic school together as kids. What better extension than having someone in my life who actually knew my mother?


What really started to melt the icey exterior around the memories of my mother was when I gave birth to my darling Man-cub at 7:10 p.m on Friday, August 5, 1994. Holding what had only kicked me none-stop for months made me realize there was no way my Mother hadn't loved me with her entire being. I was an extension of her soul.



This brings me to another woman who has helped shape me and guide me; an extension of my mother. She is my sister Maureen. I was like a 10th birthday gift to her as my birth day was just hours after her golden birthday ended. She was there with me when my son was born. His father was there, too, but his weak stomach kept him from being useful in labor and delivery. Everything we learned in Lamaze was lost. Maureen was the surefire back up that I needed. She got nose to nose with me when I was on the verge of hyperventilation. Back labor on a gurney. A gurney I had basically been on all day due to the labor/delivery rooms being occupied. My little man was determined to come into this word facing the heavens. She stuck up for me when the nurse would gaze at the monitors and declare, "that's not a bad contraction." When, indeed, some were causing me to nearly blackout. She was right there when they told me "it's a boy!" Because of her mothering throughout my life, she almost feels she's a grandmother to my son. After that there was no doubt who would be Man-cub's God Mother.


Thirteen years later I catch myself sounding like my mother. I realize how much her patience was tested. I have one child and it's tested daily. Yet, no matter how it all comes around, at the end of the day I can lay my head to rest knowing I gave it my best. I kiss my son goodnight hoping he will never question that my love is unconditional. I say a little prayer that God will give me more time on this Earth than my mother had.



I have been fortunate to have many amazing mothers grace my life. I would be remiss to neglect to mention another incredible woman in my life. That is my sister Mary. She's given life to four children; raised 3. Her only son became ill and died at the wee age of 6. She has done an remarkable job in the face of adversity. I cannot fathom how, but she is an incredibly strong willed woman whom I admire greatly. She took me in when I felt lost shortly after our mom died. I needed guidance and safety. She supplied it until it became more feasible for me to reside with Maureen. She's always been a guiding force as, not only a sister, but a friend. I know how cliche' it is to say that, but this is undeniably true. Her daughters astound me with their accomplishments.


I hope everyone has been as blessed as I have been. Motherhood isn't an easy job, but it's one I knew I was destined for. The pay is lousy, the hours are long. The stress is insurmountable, but one thing is for certain: The rewards are priceless.
The book pictured is a must for all parents. Particularly mothers of sons. It doesn't matter how old my son gets I will carry this refrain with me: "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

7 comments:

  1. This is lovely. Happy Mother's Day.
    XOXO

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  2. Thank you for the gift of your words. You have touched my heart, again, as you have done for 42 years of my life. Happy Mother's Day! <3 U

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  3. My dear friend...it's been a while since I read your blog :(
    Knowing you for as long as I have I knew that because today is mother's day you would take this opportunity to thank the many women who have been a driving force in your life to help give you the guidance and love that you needed at a time that was appropo.
    Thank you for including my mother in your heartfelt mother's day blog. She meant so much to me and I miss her dearly, along with my stepmother.
    May all those mother's who have gone before us rest in peace and may peretual life shine upon them.
    Please tell Mary and Mo Happy Mother's Day for me.
    Love you,
    -kk

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  4. OMG! One more person that I forgot to give kudos to...gramma! Man o man how I miss her and of course her cooking, which you know as well as I do, was the bomb!
    -k

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  5. Oh man, Gramma K was such a hoot. I still remember the day you turned to roll your eyes at her and crashed your car by the railroad tracks on 5th Av. Funny, but not. Now, SHE knew how to put us all in our places. HA!

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  6. HA! You couldn't just leave it with her cooking was the bomb?!
    Remember, we were on our way to visit Suz who was in the hospital!
    And the car that I hit...was a friggin' tank and not a bump on it! Lesson learned but funny as hell! :)

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