Sunday, April 17, 2016

Doing It Right

Today my mom celebrates her 83rd trip around the sun. If you know our story at all, you know that she is a woman of great perseverance, deep faith and a get-it-done attitude. Having to raise seven of us, almost single-handedly for many years, you begin to understand how these attributes enabled her to keep pressing on through the hard times; because there were a lot of hard times. How people react and respond to adversity shapes who they are, and before you know it you're eighty-something and still leading by example.

That's my mom.

There are some solid memories of moments in time where Mom was there for me and my siblings. Moments that stood above others enough to make an impact.


  • Once she bought me a cheap desk for my room. It was a poorly made thing, but I'm sure she got a deal on it because money was always tight. Well, two days into it a couple of the nails had popped out and one of the drawers wasn't working. When I complained to her about it saying I didn't like it, she said she'd look at it after work. After surveying the situation, she showed up in my room with a hammer and some nails. She started pounding and reinforcing the weak spots of the desk. I have this vision in my head today of her with nails in her mouth pounding away at the desk and making it right. When she was done, it was perfect. She said, "I bet you didn't know your mother was a part time carpenter, did you?"  It was the perfect example of her can-do, get it done attitude.
  • When Sarah was born, we of course were filled with apprehension of how our lives had changed and all the responsibility we had just taken upon ourselves. It was at this time when Mom said "You'll be great parents." No advice or support was more meaningful to me/us at that time. Again, good mothers know what to say and when.
  • Between the six of us we could be horrible kids at times. For instance, Mom threw out her back lifting a monstrously heavy air conditioner with my stepfather. After going through surgery for a herniated disk, she was recovering at home. I remember one day she read us the riot act about  how she shouldn't have to walk around the house picking up socks and other items with her feet because she can't bend over. When mom got ticked, the whole house knew it, as they should. As I said, we were horribly selfish kids at times. Mom's have a way of enlightening us to things like that and straightening us out.
  • Mom always showed up for the important events in all of our lives. This meant that because there were six of us, she obviously couldn't make it to every event/game/recognition in our lives. But when it really meant something, she was there. When her and Jack (stepfather) showed up to my grade school championship football game (unbeknownst to me until after the game) it meant the world to me - even if I only played on kickoffs. 


  • I've told the story of how, on the morning after my dad had been killed, she came into our room and said "Your father was killed last night, but we're all going to be okay." Devastating news to a bunch of kids our age, but the comfort behind the words "we're all going to be okay," were exactly what I needed to hear. Mothers have a way of doing that.


  • There was a time during my brother Rob's celebration of life where my daughter Sarah broke down and who was there for her but my mom, Sarah's "Nanny." It was a poignant picture of the oldest generation lifting up the youngest in times of great sadness. Sarah's first exposure to something unthinkably sad was something my mom had to deal with time and time again. 

  • I'm sure everyone has a bunch of stories of their own like this. Mothers are special. Mine has a listening heart, she never judges or pits one child against the other and lends a shoulder to cry on in moments of grief. She still calls us out when she thinks we're going astray, but you never really finish the job of being a mother, I guess.

    Anyway, Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.

    Blogging off...

    4 comments:

    rosegoeb said...

    Beautiful piece, Jim. I hope somebody writes me a tribute like that someday--it's something to strive for. I have really enjoyed your mother when we have crossed paths. She seems so strong, yet has a sense of humor that won't quit. Two pretty wonderful qualities! Thanks for posting!

    rosegoeb said...

    Beautiful piece, Jim. I hope somebody writes me a tribute like that someday--it's something to strive for. I have really enjoyed your mother when we have crossed paths. She seems so strong, yet has a sense of humor that won't quit. Two pretty wonderful qualities! Thanks for posting!

    Jo Balistreri said...

    Wonderful tribute to your mom, Jim.

    She seems like the ideal mother, strong, compassionate, fun and practical all at the same time. Through it all a great love for you kids.

    Happy Mother's Day Jim's mom!

    Kevin McKasy said...

    happy birthdy nanny kev pass it on jim kev