Sunday, December 7, 2008

My Mother

Mother,

Tomorrow would be your 78th birthday, it's been 5 years since you've passed away and I wanted you to know how we all miss you. You were a powerful woman, one that doesn't come along that often, you raise 4 boys on your own, got your PhD with little assistance, made sure we had toys to play with and a roof over our heads, when I know you worried about making ends meet from month to month. I know that at least I wasn't the best of son I could be or even that I tried to be, I took a lot of what you had to offer for granted. Despite that you loved me, fed me, gave me a place to stay, and made sure I was well educated and prepared to live on my own.

You taught me fabulous lessons of life, the number one is how to see myself through another's eyes, to realize that no one on this planet really deserves any sort of prejudice, when in face we're all a bit different and bizarre in someone else's eyes. This is a lesson that I try to push into my own daughter, when she see's someone who is different, I ask her if that person thinks she looks different.

You taught me how to laugh when the pressure is on. You gave me life memories that make me laugh today. I blame you for my sense of humor, I remember you telling me I was adopted, then you'd pause and say "well not quite adopted, I found you in an alley nursing on the teet of a dog, and I felt sorry for you and took you in". I tell this to people and they see it as cruel, but today I still laugh at it, you were of course trying to teach me a lesson, you knew that some of our neighbors were adopted and you wanted me to think how it must feel like.

You taught me how to work hard, I'm still the first person in the neighborhood to clear the snow, they know I'm sick if the snow isn't cleared (and I have to be really sick for that to happen), I still water the hell out of my lawn to keep it green, for fear that you'll get angry with me, I make sure to keep my yard tidy, mowed and well groomed (it's one of the best in the neighborhood, though some of the neighbors are into competitive lawning, so it's not the best ;)).

You taught me how to love my neighbors and friends and to run to their aid when they need it, even if it means that I do without. I was telling people of how you gave our Thanksgiving dinner away one year to a friend who had cancer and was only getting dessert for Thanksgiving. I remember you and your fight with this disease and how you would proudly tell women that you had the disease and had a mastectomy, I remember asking you why and you said "I don't want others to be embarrassed by the disease, by having their breasts removed, they should wear it proudly and with honor, for it's not their fault they have the disease, they shouldn't have to live in shame for it".

I think of you fondly on several days, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the Fourth of July, you sure loved to throw a party. On Father's day, I had always sent you flowers on that day, because you were the father I never had. I think of you with great pain on your birthday and the day you died, these days still hurt for me quite a bit, it's a pain that I believe I'll always feel.

You had great knowledge, knowledge I now know I'll never get to and I'm embarrassed by having it let get away from me. I now encourage my friends to speak with their parents and mine them for information, this verbal family history needs to be continued. Despite the fact you never became famous, never made millions of dollars, or never cured cancer, you should know that you'll always be my hero. I love you mother, I hope you're kicking ass up there in heaven, I hope you're surrounded by your family and with my daughter, Julie's sister, Melanie, please give her a big hug for me (I still love getting hugs because of you and I'll never be able to give enough).

Happy Birthday Mother!

3 comments:

Amanda/Leopard said...

The older I get, the more I realize what a great impact our parents have on our lives. I think this is a realization that more people my age need to come to.

Also, I think it is unfortunately true that we don't know how good something or someone is until we no longer have it/them. It's something about the loss itself that puts everything into perspective.

Chemical Billy said...

Hello Philip,

Been a while since I've stopped by, and it was good to find this tribute here. I remember your mom; she always seemed to go out of her way to make me welcome in your house.

Cheers,
Caitlin

cyberpenguin said...

Wow, thank you for sharing such wonderful, appreciative thoughts about your mother. You are very lucky to have had such a special relationship with her.