Monday, May 11, 2009
A Tribute to My Mom
A huge regret in my life is that it has taken me so many years to get to know my Mom. It's not that she is unapproachable or secretive. Far from it, but she took the role of motherhood seriously and rarely displayed anger, hurt, disappointment or fear. I first started realizing she was a mere mortal about 20 years ago when she asked me to go on a mission with her. She and her younger sister needed to select a facility for their ailing and aged mother after her release from the hospital. Totally out of character for her, my Grammy refused to walk after her broken hip healed. She was only 97! She was the example by which her children raised their children. She had a God-given gift for music and singing and her children received the same. Because they were so gifted, each was expected to give back by singing in their church choir -- which they did. [Out of all her siblings, I think Mom had the loveliest soprano.] The gene that gifted my Mom's generation skipped me, but I could hold a tune and learned to read music when I started piano lessons at the age of 8. Therefore, I was automatically accepted into a progression of youth choirs in our church. It was usually fun except when we had to sing at the early services on Easter and Christmas mornings. I was unabashedly proud hearing my Mom sing solos in church. Being a soloist, she sang a traditional hymn for baptisms. From her seat in the front row of the chancel choir seating, she beamed with motherly love at the newborns carried down the aisle by proud parents. I looked forward to walking out with her through a phalanx of admiring church members. If Mom and Dad hadn't been smitten with each other at first sight, Mom might have become an opera star. It had been her goal until she caught sight of a young Navy Lt. JG walking into their college cafeteria. They were married within months. My home town had a population of about 7000, but it also had it's own opera company. Mom had the lead roles in productions of Dido and Anaes, The Butterfly Stomped, Hansel and Gretel (she played Hansel in this one), Madame Butterfly and more that I've forgotten. I think Dad was a little put-off by the bouquets and praise Mom received from admiring men. He knew he didn't have to worry, but witnessing the adulation lavished on his "bride" by men of wealth and power bugged him. Her expansive and unconditional love for her family still amazes me. We kids all went through the teen-angst-years and young-adult-know-it-all-years. Yet Mom steadfastly believed in us and allowed us to learn from our mistakes with subtle guidance and remarkable understanding. Mom and Dad were very different personalities from very different backgrounds yet they created a unified, supportive family unit that still thrives today. We live in different parts of the country, but know that if one needs help, all of us will respond. Thanks, Mom. You know I mean it when I tell you I love you.