Monday, April 4, 2011

My Mom

Today is my mother's birthday.

How do you describe the person who has given you absolutely everything
you could ever wish or hope for?
How do you wish them a Happy Birthday in your blog
and do justice to them and to your relationship with them?
What do you give that person to show them just how much you love and appreciate them?
These are the questions I have been asking myself for the last few days,
as I tried to figure out what I was going to say in my blog today.
My mother is
the most giving person I know.
She will spend hours listening to people 
Today, on her birthday, she bought my girls a present
(a brand new top notch sewing machine).

Before she was my mom,
my mother had a thriving career in Manhattan.
She dressed in designer clothes from Bonwit Teller.

She learned to drive at the New York World's Fair.

She put herself through nursing school,
she worked in New York City hospitals in the 1960s.

She gave it all up to be my mom.

Hers were the first arms to ever hold me.
Her love was the first I ever knew,
the bar was set high.
A bar that I have held everyone else up to.

I attempt to be half the mother that she was.
I am not nearly that selfless.

My mother always put our needs above her own.
She spent hours volunteering at our schools.
She spent hours helping us with homework.
She would take us anywhere.
Go anywhere with us,
even to a Guns n Rose, Deep Purple and Aerosmoth concert.

She put up with a lot of crap from me,
I was not an easy teenager.

My mother always encouraged us,
but she was also always honest.
For that reason, I have always sought her approval.

Jason and I have never made a big decision without consulting my parents.
Before we bought our houses,
we asked my parents to look at them and tell us what they thought.
When Jason is going through something at work,
he calls my mom and asks her advice.

When we started to consider homeschooling,
we talked to my parents.
They were against it.
For two years, they brought up every argument they could think of.
Last summer, when we made the decision to go for it and try it this year,
they embraced it.
"What can I do" my mom asked.
"What can I teach them?" my mom asked.
"How can I help you?" my mom asked.
Now, that is true support.

Gotta love the 80s

My mother's mother was a seamstress,
she came her from Italy in 1920
and worked in a sewing factory 
in downtown Manhattan.
She taught me how to sew when I was little.
But, it's never been my thing.
Sewing brings my mother joy.
At the lakehouse,
she has a porch that is all windows,
overlooking the wide expanse of lake.
My mom is happy to spend the day there,
looking out over the lake
and sewing curtains, quilts, clothes for girls & dolls...
whatever we come up with.
I asked my mom to teach the girls to sew on a machine.
After all, they both want to be fashion designers.

In the fall,
when my mom got the girls alone,
she always asked them if they were really happy,
if they REALLY liked homeschooling.
She told me that she will tell us if she thinks they are not happy
or that we are missing something.
I like that someone has my family's interests at heart,
that they may let me see something that I am overlooking.
But for now,
my mom sends me emails about how schools are no longer teaching certain subjects,
about bullying in schools,
about issues with standardized tests,
about what schools are doing to education.

I can tell that she is proud of me
for wanting the best for my own children
and for seeing a problem and working on a solution,
and when that solution didn't work,
I came up with another solution.

May 15, 1985

My mother is
a survivor,

May 1991

My mother has always been there for me.
Her love has never wavered.
Her support has never flagged.
We talk daily--sometimes, most times, many times a day.

There are a lot of words here,
but none of them can even touch what is in my heart.
There are no words
for how much I love my mother.

I guess all I can say is:
Happy Birthday, Mom!
I thank God for you every day and every night.
I love you with all of my heart.

It was only natural that I would want my mother there when A was born.
She was able to watch the whole delivery.
Here she is holding newborn A in the hospital nursery.