Sunday, May 13, 2007

On this Mother's Day, I thank the ladies in my life

Today is Mother's Day, and I am feeling thankful for the women in my life.

It started with my great-grandmother Bessie. She came to the United States from Kolomyia, Poland (now Austria) so that she could do better for herself, and her future family. Little did she know, the Nazi party would sweep through her country and assassinate her remaining family (including her mother and father), her neighbors, and her friends. How do people find the strength to move forward once there has been such tragedy?

She would have more than a handful of children in her life; one of them, Ruth, is my grandma. There is so much to say about this amazing lady. From the time she was old enough to do so, my grammy worked hard to provide for herself. She succumbed to motherhood, and quit her administrative job, but not without a fight. Back in her day women stayed home, and while she knew this was to be her destiny as well, she would get the itch once again...In the meantime, she raised two children, one of whom is my mother Ronna. More, she took on her grandchildren with great persistence, taking us in for the years my mom needed her support, and later, watching us after school, taking us to doctor appointments, and all the little things in between. She has given us so much joy, so much value, so many memories, great dinners, morals, love, beauty (yes, we all inherited her looks), and more. She never said no when it came to her family. Ten years ago, when she was about 73, she got a job to help out her ailing husband -- my grampy -- who has now been gone for a little over a year. She is still working strong, and recently fulfilled yet another one of her dreams: when she was a younger woman, she always said she wanted a bright red convertible. Well, last week the 83-year-old signed her name to a new car lease. And while her hair may not be blowing in the wind, she is sitting classy in the cherry-red Chevy!

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My mom went with her to sign the papers, and to watch as her hip mother sat in the front seat of her new car. She and her mother have such a close bond: they talk on the phone once or twice a day, they go out to lunch, they laugh, cry, and more. I have now taken on that role with my mom. In fact, I have always been close to her heart. As the middle child - I have an older brother and sister, and a younger sister - I somehow squeezed my way in to every situation. Like my vision in life now, as a youngster, I always tried to see the middle ground. My mom encouraged me to try new things, to not worry about image or being too cool. She told me that no matter what I do in life, I would be successful. This is coming from a woman who has persevered through a divorce; taking her four young children with her. She has worked every day since I can remember – always providing for us. Any extra money would be spent on amazing holiday gifts, vacations that were unforgettable, and side adventures such as the local putt-putt, or camp. She is incredible. Her four kids are grown now, but like her mother - who helped raise us - my mom is continuing that unwavering love, as she raises my nephew. For my mom, mothering never stops.

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I am who I am because of the women who have raised me. I have learned from their mistakes, from their strengths, from their values and morals that have passed on to me. I am independent, loving and persistent because of the females who raised me. And while I will not have children of my own - except to my cats of course! - on this Mother’s Day I celebrate moms, aka, empowering women.

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