March 10th every year is the official International Day of Awesomeness.
And my mother was one of the most awesome people I know.
I just wish I had known her longer. And better.
I’ve spent more of my life with my husband (and almost my children) than I did with her.
Yet, her kindness and love has traveled with me through these years. Always comforting me during hard times… always sharing my joys in days that were bright.
She raised nine kids in a two bedroom house, never learned to drive, and spoke two languages.
She played the mandolin, once sang at the Keil Auditorium in St. Louis, and loved soap operas.
She liked coffee, donuts, and ice cream.
She sometimes wore dresses with nylons,
Calvin Klein jeans from yard sales, and an apron full of wooden clothespins.
She never dyed her hair,
had a manicure,
or drank liquor.
Once in awhile she would cuss, much to our surprise. "Mom!"’,we would say, our eyes wide in wonder and disgust.
“Shit Fire!" was her favorite thing to mumble under her breath when the bills, or us kids, or a stubbed toe got the best of her.
But she never allowed us to use curse words- and she always kept us within ear shot just in case we were tempted.
She did her daily tasks without complaint. Ironing, washing, mopping and cooking.
Sewing, sweeping, dusting, cleaning. Packing lunches, balancing the budget…..and still she found time to ask us about our day and to tell us about hers.
She rarely wore jewelry, makeup, or
perfume. But Evening in Paris or some Avon brand always had a spot on the top of her dresser.
She had favorite dolls on her bed, miniature figurines in her kitchen and neighbors that she loved.
When I was about ten years old, she found out she had lymphoma. And after that, it seemed the years were memories of ups and downs and surgeries and recoveries and good days and bad days.
But there was always hope.
And always faith.
And Mom never lost her motherliness- her kindness-
her gentle and funny ways.
She died when I was 32.
But her awesomeness never did.
It lives on in all her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren-and beyond.
I see it every time I smell a lilac,
hear a mandolin,
eat a jelly donut,
or mop my floors.
I feel it every time I need comfort,
have questions, or feel despair.
And every single time that I mumble
Mom, you were awesome!
And today I celebrate your awesomeness!