My mother has been gone for over 20 years now, but I think of her often. Mother’s Day is now a day for my own grown children to call me, and to talk to my mother-in-law. But this Mother’s Day, my first as a grandmother myself, I’d like to share a personal gift that Mom never got to understand that she gave me – the gift of bravery.
Mom raised 4 very rambunctious children, see photo here for an example of the boys:
I was older than them, and not very calm or easy-going either. In fact, we all depended on Mom so much that as we got older, it can even be said that we took her for granted. As a military child, then military spouse myself, the moves for both my father and my husband meant that I never lived in the same town as Mom after I left home at 18, but that didn’t stop me from whining and complaining by phone every time a little of life’s problems came up. And she was always on my side, no matter how foolish some of those problems seem to me now.
Then Mom got cancer. I was mad at her – how many times had I complained about the smoking? She was strong and tough and still young – I was sure she’d beat it. And so was she; she insisted we still send the boys, her grandchildren, for visits to Manitoba while she dealt with the surgeries and planned the chemotherapy. But it was not to be. Mom was taken and now who would look after us, all adults though we were?
Well, mom didn’t desert me. She gave me a strength I didn’t know I had. After she passed, I noticed a curious change in myself, and not just the physical one via my first and only tattoo. I no longer feared little issues of life, or even some big ones. Giving a presentation at work? Why had that ever made me nervous before? Building a new house? Who cares if the old one hasn’t sold yet. Raising boys, standing up to bullying hockey parents? What a laugh! Retiring before age 60, becoming an author? How would I do that? No worries – figure it out, it’s only one step at a time. Brave. I became brave about facing life after Mom died. I say she didn’t know she gave me this last gift, but I suspect something else. I think Mom always knew how brave I was. She just waited until she was gone to let me know.