Friday, May 8, 2009

My Mother

My mother has not had a particularly easy time at life, she does so much for my kids and our little family though, even through her own trials. She said something that gave me pause on Sunday. I gave her a hug as she walked by and said "I love you mom," she said "at least somebody does." I wish she felt the love of our family a bit more than she does, I think we sometimes take her for granted and neglect telling her what she means to us.

She grew up in a family of nine, four girls, and five boys. My grandpa left the family at some point in time, he was a truck driver and he met another lady in another state and married her. When he would come home he would line all the kids up to hit them (for anything they might have done wrong).

Her brothers were mean, they punched her, ruined her stuff, called her names, mom's told us many stories about this. I think my grandma was not able to give enough attention to the large family (who could under these circumstances) she was struggling to survive, I know she made their clothes (mostly) and that they ate what they had available at the time. Mom's told us also of having to rework clothing in the latest style so that she wouldn't feel too bad about her clothes.

When we were little we lived with my grandma, I vaugely remember her, the lady who lived downstairs sewing all the time. The day after my fourth birthday my grandma was killed by a drunk driver, when my mom and she were out for a walk. All I remember about this is that they wouldn't let me into the funeral, kept me outside to play, but I knew something was wrong, didn't feel like playing.

We moved shortly afterwards to a duplex apartment (two connected apartments) which had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, family room and a basement. Plus it had a fair sized back yard (with woods beyond that). There we stayed for the next 20 or so years (though I moved out eventually).

This was a major source of stress for my mom, it was a large duplex yes, but the landlord didn't fix one thing when we lived there and my dad often neglegted things (he struggles with ADD and doesn't finish what he starts).

My mom had a longing for a house that I felt from the time that I was really little, it was frustrating to her to be living in that duplex, her frustration became my frustration though for the most part I loved my little room and the backyard. I was glad when I could finally move out. Eventually after my grandparents passed away, they moved up to their home, so she has a house, just not her dream house.

After my grandmother died my mother would walk for miles and miles, she was so depressed. I too was depressed (my depression had to do with Celiacs disease.)

At some point she had to go to work, my dad struggles with ADD. It was hard for him to work within the confines of a desk in a big office. He worked and still works with his friends doing heating and air conditioning installation.

So we became latch key children, in some ways a good thing because of all the adventures that we had together, in other ways bad because my mom just didn't seem to be there. She would come home and read exhausted from work. I missed her, all-though I know she had to work, I accepted that.

Her depression showed itself in her weight, which she has struggled with for many years. Perhaps this is why after joining Weight Watchers with me and losing the weight she was scared to let go of that when I did, and we've struggled with the issue a bit ever since (I let go of "points" and just eat as much unrefined foods as I feel like).

For a long time, I used to wish I could change the way things were in my family. The way my dad talked to us, the way things never seemed to get done, and I have had all sorts of ideas about how my mom could improve. I've learned that it is pointless to dwell on these things, my parents are the way they are, and they are not going to change unless they feel like changing.

My mom, through all of this has still been a really good mom. She's one of the kindest people that I know, she has helped me to be able to get an education. Not an easy thing since she still had my little brothers and sister at home when I got married at such a young age, bringing new children into a now cramped duplex apartment. She watched my children, so that I could grow up. She didn't really take over their care, but she gave me a chance to grow up despite my circumstances.

She's also helped me throughout the years to learn to sew (somewhat). I remember a quilt that she made me when I went to 5th grade camp (my own daughter is going in a few short weeks), I know she used to make some of my clothes when I was younger.

Plus she made my wedding dress (with extra room for my baby, which ended up being a bit silly because I carry my baby's so well that no one can really tell I am pregnant until I am about to deliver).

She made many of our Halloween costumes (I will show you a couple of costumes she made me below). Plus she made a lot of our cakes, (and still makes a "bear cake" for every baby's first birthday).

In fact she has made all of our holidays and celebrations special.

My mom has also listened to me over the years, listened as I cried over things that I couldn't change.

and she still makes a fantastic Sunday dinner every week to share with our family.

I also remember many exciting adventures in hair maintainence that I shared with my mom. She used to give my hair permanents "to give it body, cause' it was so thin" (not a problem now, it's just the opposite). I remember, student hair stlyists and the amazing job they did on my hair (once bleached a little bit too bleach bottle blonde, once very poodle like - I think in fourth grade).

Plus my mom has always been the one to get us ready to go camping, planning it all, packing things up, unpacking. She has always been the uncomplaining stalwart of getting things cleaned up around the house and she still is.

What I hope my mom realises, is that I love her and I know my brothers and sister love her. She has said that she feels like she has failed, no, to me she has succeeded. She has fought unseen battles, battles that no one could help her with. She did have to work, she had to do it, that is the reality of what our circumstances required from her.

Plus battles with depression are very, very real, I know I have battled depression. Depression makes life ten times harder than it should be. I think that when she is standing before the Savior to be judged that she will have a very high pedestal for the admirable work she has done in this life. Plus I hope my own daughters can forgive me for my failings and shortcomings.

I want to say again, "I Love you Mom!!" With big super emphasis, because she is a lady that deserves all the love in the world.

Mom & Dad

My Wedding Dress

One of the costumes that she made for me (for some reason I wanted to be a worm for the Fourth of July childrens parade. This costume was reincarnated later as a rattlesnake for my brother).

I wanted to be a 50's girl and she made me a poodle skirt and somehow found the right shoes.

Strawberry Shortcake Birthday Cake

Poodle Hair (We are playing a Nintendo, probably Mario)


Finding Pam said...

That was a beautiful post to your Mom. She was a success in that she raised you to be such a great young womnan.

Happpy Mother's Day and keep smiling and writing. Pam

Gordon said...

I tell my children that the greatest thing I ever did for them was choosing their mother. It sounds like a joke, but it is true. The most endearing and important quality a mother can have is nurturing and loving her children. To do that in spite of battling depression, is a deed that should be greatly rewarded.
You are a terrific daughter for recognizing the sacrifice your mother has made. All daughters should be like you. Thanks for being you.