As a daughter, a mom, and a grandma, I tend to look forward to the day. Growing up, I had many strong women in my life. Women who weren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. They wrestled livestock, plowed fields, chopped cotton, picked cotton, shucked corn, and canned their produce in 100-degree weather with no AC.
Friends, those were some stalwart individuals. They’re my heroines in life.
My mom is no less my heroine, though she wasn’t required to live off the land. She was a city girl, transplanted to the country. She didn’t much care for all that hard work, but she never shied away from it. We moved a lot. She counted about forty-two moves, in a recent conversation.
We usually lived in town, where she worked all day at a job, kept a clean house and three mostly well-behaved kids. I was thirteen when Dad finally found a job he liked, and could do well. He started as an insurance salesman and moved up to management. We were transferred from one city to another, because he was a good manager and could build up a lagging office like nobody’s business.
Mom adapted well. She would pretty much go anywhere for her man. He’d found her in Seattle, working the candy counter at a downtown movie theater. She was only seventeen, and he was nineteen when he talked her into marrying him. Still in the Navy, and about to head overseas to Japan, he took her home to his family. Mom ended up in West Tennessee with virtual strangers, waiting for his return.
That was either crazy stupid, or crazy in love. Either way, I’m glad she did it. The fact that she stayed with that man for so many years makes her a heroine in my book. I loved my Daddy. In fact, most everyone loved him. He was a true friend and a good ole boy. We all miss him like crazy.
Now, she shows her bravery in other ways. At eighty-four, she lives alone in a small apartment, an hour away from me, two hours away from big brother, but just a few minutes away from her baby boy, who takes good care of her. She keeps her little space clean as a whistle. Her favorite pastime is reading, and she reads a lot. She says it keeps her mind healthy.
She doesn’t get out a lot, as she’s very hard of hearing, even with a hearing aid. But this woman stays in pretty constant touch with several of her friends from childhood and a couple of family members. She sends out birthday cards and encouraging letters to some who are unable to leave their homes. And they love her letters.
My birthday cards come with lines added beneath the really meaningful parts, along with a few exclamation points. There was a time when this introverted woman never touched me, never told me that she loved me, but I always knew she was there for me. We didn’t always get along, but then I moved out, and we became the best of friends.
Since Dad died, she never lets an opportunity pass to tell me she loves me, or gather me in a bony hug (she’s quite thin). And this is how she is with everyone.
So, Happy Mothers Day, not only to my mom, but to all of you who are reading this, whether you have children of your body, or children of your heart.
And if your mom is still around, don’t forget to call and tell her you love her.