I don’t normally “go personal” here but I’m making an exception today. I woke up this morning thinking about my mom, who will celebrate her 87th birthday soon. This is a recent picture of us, as I visited her in Florida.
I’ve lived a difficult life but hers hasn’t exactly been a barrel of laughs either.
My dad was the love of her life, but everything fell apart for our family (I was the second of four kids) as my dad spiraled down into bipolar disorder and alcoholism. I led two lives — very active in school, in student government, cheerleading, track, etc. — but I never had friends over because I couldn’t trust what the “scene” was going to be at our house at any given moment. It was rough.
I didn’t respect my mom. When I think about my attitude toward her during that time, I’m ashamed. I saw her as a weak, unhappy woman who didn’t have the strength or courage to leave a miserable situation.
What I realize through my adult eyes is that her incredible strength and courage is what enabled her to stay. Her strength allowed her to stay focused on what really mattered…keeping her family intact, maintaining a semblance of normalcy despite the volatile situations created by my dad’s alcoholism, and staying involved as a mom.
Her courage enabled her to go to Al-Anon meetings, go back to school, and work two jobs trying to sustain us financially even as my dad was drinking/spending that money faster than she could earn it.
My mom made her share of mistakes, as I have with my own children, but I know she loved me without fail, and I’ve told her that a good part of the reason I am whole today is the amazing example she set for me so many years ago.
My mom doesn’t read my blog posts, but I wanted to honor her — and all moms — today through this remembrance. Take a moment, if you’re fortunate to have a mom (or mom-like person) in your life, and tell her how very special she has been to you.