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Friday, January 6, 2017

My Mom, The Pioneer

Mom, my brother Robbie, and myself at the old house. 

Saying Happy Birthday to my Mom today. She just turned 84. Hard to believe. I still remember when she turned 40, and she came home from Sears where she worked. She seemed sad that day. I guess because of the milestone, and I said "Mom, you are beautiful to me." And she was.
It's funny sometimes the things that stick in your mind.
We were on a bus trip once in Central America after I was an adult, after my Dad had passed away, and someone started the game, "What's your greatest achievement." When it was Mom's turn she said, "Having a family. That's all I really wanted to do." At the time, I'm sure my 20-something self may have cringed, wondering what these hip people I'd never see again thought of her answer. It was so "mom-like." LOL.
But, you know, as it turns out, from that whole bus load of a dozen people, with all their clever answers, hers is the only one I still remember.
Because it was the most honest. And I do believe it is true.
But somewhere along the way, she did a lot of other things too. In addition to bringing US into the world, Mom helped so many other people in theirs! Working her way from secretary to Personnel Manager, my Mom gave people their first jobs at Sears in my hometown. Taking chances and giving chances. Hardly a visit goes by when I'm home that someone doesn't come up to her to say hello and relate something that my Mom did for them. Showing her respect in some way. She's touched lives through her work and through her church life as long as I've known her.
Part of who she is.
I know my Mom is happy that she's had the opportunity to have the things she's had in life...after growing up in a 2 room house that her Daddy built, no indoor plumbing, dresses made from flour sacks, making her way through school... She worked for every bit of it. And, In truth, she achieved a management position at a time when it wasn't a common thing for women.
She is a role model. Although she'd never describe herself thus.
This year was another milestone for Mom... After being the Personnel Manager and retiring in her 60's, after my Dad died, she went back to work at the same store in sales. To "keep her mind sharp." Only leaving it NOW..she finally quite her job. We were shocked!
But maybe now she'll focus on something for herself, right? (But I doubt it). I buy clothes for my Mom at Christmas, because she simply hardly ever buys anything for herself. There are too many kids, and grandkids and great grandkids... and... and....
This past Christmas-- it was a nice one--when it was all said and done, and the gifts were all put away from everyone. She said to me " I don't think I deserve all of this?"
Of course she does. And more than we could ever give.
And really "gifts" are just a manifestation of something else we are trying to say, aren't they?
One of Mom's favorite "gifts" this year was from her grandson, Brennan. A note talking about the special times they'd had when he was young. (There was a gift card in there as well, I believe. But for her, the NOTE was the thing. I think I heard her talk about it at least five times in 3 days, but it could have been more. LOL)
I know... some get annoyed that she asks so many questions, or she wants to be involved or she wants to be called more often, or wishes that folks would come by when they say they wil... not too much to ask... all considered, I'd think.
After all, in her mind,WE are her greatest achievement. And aren't we lucky that this groundbreaking, giving, feeling and tenacious women feels that way?
What would life had been like if she didn't?
Love you Mom.