Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Forty-two Ways in Forty-two Days- My Mom

I know that I have talked about my parents before. I posted on Father's day about my Dad. Today I want to focus on Mom. I mentioned in that post that she was a wonderful lady and I meant that.

Mom and I are quite a bit alike and did a lot of things in a 20 year parallel. Mom was born in '47, I was born in '67 (Josh was born in '87). She graduated in '65, I graduated in '85. She got married in '66, I got married in '86. She celebrated her 43rd anniversary married to my dad this February- I celebrated my 23rd anniversay married to Jim this February- our anniversaries are 4 days apart. Mom did a little college- I did a little college. We both get our temperments from my Granny- Mom's mom. She passed away a few years ago and left a huge hole in our hearts. Mom and I have both struggled with our weight for years, the difference is that Mom has come to terms with her issues- I have not. We have also struggled with our health.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I live with Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was diagnosed at 38. Prior to that, most of my health issues centered around cervical displasia and fibroid turmors on my uterus. I had so many procedures that I still have to take a muscle relaxer before my annual exam. I know it's silly because in comparison to what I deal with now- and what Mom has dealt with but it is my hangup. Mom had the three of us girls between 1967 and 1971. After us, Mom had three unsuccessful pregnancies. I remember each of them and the heartbreak they brought her and dad. They never found a reason- just theories. When Mom was just three years older than I am now, she had a severe (are there less severe?) heart attack. Fortunately it wasn't hugely painful for her. She actually thought that she had pulled a muscle helping my son with his seatbelt on the way to send him home to us. When they went in- she ended up having emergency bypass surgery. At that point they thought perhaps the root of her issues were a stopped thyroid. Needless to say we have checked my thyroid often since then. Just a couple of years ago-before her 60th birthday, Mom had a stroke. It scared the hell out of us and spurred Jim and I to move out to Indiana so that we could be closer to her and Dad and help out any way we were needed.

In just as many ways as we are alike, Mom and I are different. For all of my life, Mom has been the heart, soul and glue of our family. While Dad was overseas during Vietnam, mom worked outside the home as well as raised me. When he came home, she became a stay at home mom. She was up with us in the morning to get us off to school. She was home when we got back at the end of the day. She kept the house and made it a home. When Dad went back to active duty, it was Mom who handled the moves so seamlessly that we marveled at how quickly she could make our new house- be they temporary living quarters or regular housing- a home. We would move in on one day, go to school the next and come home to find the house ready to live in. I have never had that talent. When Dad had to go TDY, or on Remote- Mom was always there- keeping us going. Mom nurtured our talents, she supported our dreams, and she made us believe that we could do or be anything we wanted. Mom was happy being at home and raising her family. That is something that I didn't have. I wanted to work outside the home. I wanted to try and be "super-mom". In hindsight, SHE was SuperMom. In addition to keeping our home and raising us, Mom supported Dad's career. She did the "military wives" thing with all of the accompanying clubs and duties of being an officer's wife. She volunteered her time, she baked for the troops, she knew their families and was there for them at all hours of the day and night. I knew it at the time- I just didn't "see" all the work she did that was above and beyond the call of duty.

It is funny how our perspective changes when we grow up. When she was "just" my mom I couldn't see the woman she was. When I think back, I see all the things she did for other people. I can see her being there with Dad- attending and hosting functions, typing his papers for school late into the night, organizing squadron events and doing so much more. I see her strength. I see her commitment. I see her compassion. I see the love she extended to our friends. I see what an impact she had on people outside her family. Now that I am older and I am back in the same state as my parents and spend as much time as I can with them, I see that that hasn't changed one iota even with her health issues. Dad may be the Pastor at the two churches in Ft. Branch- but Mom works just as hard as he does right beside him in her own way as she has her whole married life. Mom is both an inspiration and a role model. I only hope- as I do with Dad and Jim- that Josh can look back and say the same about me one day. When I "grow up"- I want to be more like my mom. I love her dearly and am eternally grateful to have had the Mother that I was given.

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