Monday, January 14, 2013

Some Things the World Needs to Know About My Mom

Hello again, blog.

The beauty of the internet (and the inherent danger, some may say) is the words put out here can last for a long time. I've heard people use words like "forever" but forever is a long time. That EMP coming from a giant comet will probably take care of the internet some day.

I digress.

This is about my mom. I'm writing it understanding these words might last a long time. They may reach far. They may not. But I'm writing it all the same.

I need the world to know a few things about my mom, especially why I respect her as much as anyone on the planet--even when we disagree. I need to world to know because Mom has been there and helped shape how I approach life.

My father had an "episode" in 1980, near the beginning of the school year. Paramedics rushed him to Clay County Memorial Hospital, and then on to Topeka for tests at a larger hospital. He had a brain tumor, malignant, and the cancer/treatment would slowly eat him away over the next nine years. He died in November, 1989. I was a freshmen in high school.

Mom filled those nine years with patience and caring. She took care of an ailing man--a man who was often out of touch with reality, a man who accused her of many awful, untrue things. A man who made all of us feel just a little unsafe from time to time. We made sometimes bi-weekly trips to Topeka so he could see specialists at the Menninger Clinic. She fought a legal battle, went to graduate school to increase her earning potential as the only salary in the house, and coached three sports to add a few dollars to each paycheck. I rode more buses than I care to count with the middle school girls' basketball team as an elementary student. Still, she rose early on Saturday mornings and made doughnuts for me to munch as I watched cartoons. I always had clean clothes, a full belly, and a warm home. She did all this while the man she married slipped into a grey shadow of who he was.

This is how I knew my mother and father.

She taught me about resiliency and toughness. She taught me how to put your head down and continue on when life hurled unimaginable horror at you. She taught me how to take care of your kids when things were eating away at you. She taught me about love.

She's helping me with the boys, now. She takes care of them when I am busy with my job, when I'm not able to be there, and when I need to be gone for me. She gives me breaks she never received. I've joked that she's my au pair. My nanny. 

We don't always see eye to eye--we don't share the same outlook on life, but she's been there. Always stubborn. Always loving.

My mother never remarried--not yet, anyway. In fact, even though Dad died in '89 and I didn't graduate until May of 1993, she didn't go on a date until I was out of the house.

Mom and I are different people. We've made some similar choices and some very different ones when confronted with harsh realities. We are different people, but I will always hold the utmost respect for her.

I've been blessed to have her in my life. I wouldn't be where I am now without her.

I've been blessed in many ways.

Stay tuned.


Karen from Mentor said...

This piece is beautiful, heart warming, life affirming and blazingly honest without being maudlin. A personal essay at its best, sir.

Your mom sounds like an amazing person. I'm glad she's there for you to lean on.

K.C. Shaw said...

You have an amazing mom. Give her an extra hug for me.