Today is my mom's birthday. I don't know what to really say about her except she has had to go above and beyond the call of duty of an ordinary woman raising a family. It was a situation forced upon her and a situation which she accepted and worked on.
She had four children when my father came as close to death as one could possibly get. He suffered from an aneurism in his brain which left him with a long rehab period to get back to where he could function in the world. He had terrible headaches from the incident and it came to mom to take the reigns of the family and be sure we got through life okay.
She took me to speech lessons when no one could understand a word I said. More time and money taken from her already busy schedule and small budget. It was probably the best gift she could ever give me. I talk very clearly now and even though people don't understand what I am saying they can understand the words coming out of my mouth.
She did a good, no a great job of it. Dad had gone back to work and while it was difficult for him, he was doing his part of raising the family as best as he could. Dad did his very best, there is no doubt about that and I am oh so proud of my dad. However there was a lot left to be done that dad was not able to handle completely. Mom had to step up and pick up the slack.
Mom and dad believed that a mother should stay at home and raise their kids and so she did. For many years she stayed at home raising the four of us plus taking in other children to babysit in order to make some extra money. It was hard work but she did what she had to.
I think she really always wanted to work outside the house. She is very intelligent and has a good head for figures. Raising kids was more important though and so that was the path she took. Everyday when I got home from school, mom was there. She was there when I was terrified to on my first day of kindergarten.
It wasn't easy raising four kids, especially the four of us. We were all different with different needs and I believe she did her best to meet those needs. She had to make decisions concerning the finances and budget of the family and to make sure we never wanted. She taught us to be honest in all our dealings. Not to lie and not to cheat. She taught us to show respect for our elders and really to show respect for everyone.
Christmas must have been especially difficult. I know she wanted to give us everything we wanted but had to budget and make Christmas as good as it could be for us. It was the same situation year round. Making the money stretch, taking care of dad, raising four kids. That is a lot of work and a lot of responsibility to put on ones self. In her mind it was the right thing to do and I agree with her. I feel really lucky to have had my mom there whenever I needed something. I knew where she would be while friends of mind came home to empty houses.
As time went on the situation began to get better. Dad began to slowly heal over a thirty year span. Eventually mom went to work. She got work as a tax preparer in a private firm. She proved herself and quickly rose in the ranks at the firm. She would eventually retire from that firm even though I don't think she was really ready to retire.
This has been a pretty rosy picture, right? Well mom is human as we all are. She has made some small mistakes over the years but very small ones. I have not always agreed with her on things and I got into plenty of trouble growing up. That is all on me though. I believe that my mom did her absolute best and did what she truly believed was the right thing to do. The things she thought were the right thing to do turned out to be the right things to do looking back on things.
I feel extremely lucky to still have both my parents as long as I have. Our family has more or less stuck together. That wouldn't have been possible without mom. Mom kept the family running, kept us going through some extremely difficult times. She held the family together because she worked hard at it. It wasn't an easy task for her. I think I speak for my brother and sisters when I say we realize that ist was difficult and we are thankful she worked so very hard to accomplish what she did. She smiled a lot when it wasn't easy to smile.
If ever there was a reason to get the saying "just a housewife" out of the English language, it is my mom. She was never "just a housewife". I can not look at her and see those words match up together. She is so much more than that.
She continues to take good care of dad and she continues to worry about her kids and grandkids and even great grandkids. She is the matriarch of our family. She deserves respect for all that she has done over the years.
Somehow this piece just doesn't feel like it does justice to her. It is the best I can do right now though. All I can say is "You did a good job mom. Thank you for all the sacrifices and the lessons you taught as I was growing up."