Friday, May 18, 2012

Today, May 18th, is my mother's birthday. I have thought of her all day. Mostly I have thought about how much I miss her. She would be 83 today and if she hadn't been a lifelong smoker, she might still be here with us. I miss hearing her voice, our long telephone talks. I wonder if there is a heaven and if she watches me work, sees me with my family, maybe even marvels at the kind of person I am, the person she helped me to become.

For a long time in my life, I would want to do things and be hesitant. I would say to myself, would my mom be afraid to do this? And off I would go and do the very thing that made ME/her afraid. When it came time to write her obituary, and I looked back on her life, I realized she was not afraid of anything. She was a trailblazer. She did things that women of her generation did not do. She was too young to be a Rosie the riveter in WWII but as a young woman she was a police officer and was working during big riots in the city of Philadelphia. She was a butcher in a market, a trade only men did at that time. Hard, dirty work. When I was in high school, after she had been home taking care of my brother and sisters, she went back to work as a finish carpenter and learned a trade all over again. She reinvented herself right before my eyes and showed by example that you could grow, change and begin again. Make new friends. Yes, I miss her and I wish my youngest child actually knew her but the better parts of me, the strong parts of me, the persevering parts of me are all my gifts from her.

 Happy Birthday, Mom.

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