A Tribute to Mom
(Written May 2006)
(Mama, Mommy, Mother)
It’s been six years now since my mother’s death and I still don’t fully understand her, but there are moments of clarity where her personality and life are concerned. I’ve grown and matured, occasionally recognizing and accepting both the positive and negative affects of her influence. I’m older now than she was when I was born. I was younger at her death than she was at my birth. For the first time in my life, though, I think I actually understand at least a few things about her. As a child and even into early adulthood, I never quite understood the reason she enjoyed waking early each day, having her coffee before the house awakened. Today, I understand.
This morning, as on several mornings of late, I have risen before anyone else in the house, taken my coffee to the sun porch and enjoyed the relative silence of the morning. The only “chatter” this morning being the chirping of birds, the pounding of the woodpeckers, and the purring of my cat. On a morning like this, I would often find my mother sitting by the pool, drinking her cup of coffee and enjoying the coolness provided by the early morning air. I never quite understood why she would rise so early when she could sleep late, but now I think I do.
My mother had four children, two boys and two girls. I now have three girls, each one expressing their individuality on a regular basis. When together, it’s amazing when my husband and I actually have a chance to speak, their daily chatter only ceasing when the lights go off at night. I believe my mother cherished the relative silence provided by those early morning hours.
It is in the early morning hours that I think most of my mother. The silence providing me a chance to reconcile myself to her death and better understand her influence on my life even now.
As a child, I found myself drawn to math and always had difficulty with English and Reading classes. I used to despise the reading requirements and found enjoyment in it on rare occasions. This might sound strange for the child of a teacher whose specialty was in teaching English, but it made perfect sense to me once I realized that I tended to do the opposite of what I was pushed toward as a child. Although my mother appreciated the fact that I could use my mathematical abilities to assist her with her bookkeeping and tax work when I reached my teens, I think it saddened her that I didn’t enjoy reading and literature as much as she did. It wasn’t until my mother started helping a friend at a second-hand bookstore that her love of literature began to develop in me.
It started with me helping out when my mother worked at the store. She would have something to do, leaving me in charge. Out of boredom, I would pick up a book every now and again; gradually learning what types truly interested me. Eventually, I found myself reading quite a bit, but never quite as much as my mother. After a few years of college, a marriage, and subsequent divorce, I managed to give my mother what I consider a gift of vindication for her love of reading (and writing) and her apparent inability to pass it on to me when I was a child.
During my divorce, I underwent a psychological evaluation. After more than thirteen hours of written testing and a few interviews with a psychologist, the results were in. It appears that no matter how much I enjoyed math in school, no matter how long I’ve worked in accounting, and no matter how horribly I appeared to do in school with my English classes, I have come full circle to a point where my test scores show my aptitude to be for English and literature, rather than math. Fortunately, my mother was still living when she received the news of her vindication.
The only thing that still saddens me about my so-called aptitude is that my mother never knew that I also enjoy writing. In my early days of high school, each student in the school was asked to write something for an annual publication, showcasing the talents of some of the students. I wrote a poem.
At the time, my parents were going through their own divorce and I put my heart and soul into that poem. Apparently, it was either a little too much or no one else thought the poem was all that good, but I did and that was really all that mattered. After recovering from the initial disappointment of not being published, I realized that I liked creative writing. It wasn’t until years later and only sporadically, that I actually did begin writing. I have even managed to have some of my poetry published online, under a pseudonym.
Today, I still don’t write very often, but I do enjoy it. Self-expression through the written word can be rather cathartic. I know I should do it more, but life tends to get in the way. Food and shelter tend to take precedence. One day though, my Mother’s full vindication may be realized, as I work toward writing as a way of entertaining others. So, today, as we approach another Mother’s Day, when we all honor our moms, I will pay tribute to mine through the written word.