I’ve been holding out for Mother’s Day to do this, (No, Chin, not that Mother) but May is a long way away, and I’ve got some inspiration. The other reason is that there is enough to talk about here to fill several posts, and I just feel like it. Okay? Anyhow, I’m going to start a new paragraph and tell you some things about my Mom.
She was born in 1919 in Macon, Georgia, and lived her first five years on a pecan orchard while her mother worked as a chore woman for the man who was her biological father. In those days, men were given free reign to bed any of the help, and Granny was a looker. Oh geez, that’s not my mother, she wasn’t born until the 50’s. Sorry for the confusion, I must have googled the wrong person.
My real mother was born in southern Ontario, and her father was a bit of a rascal (old time word for douchebag), so it was up to my Nan to do the best she could with what she had. I guess he took off to northern Ontario when she was just a baby, and Nan followed him there. Seems he wasn’t the type to be chained down, so Nan bundled Mom up and headed back home. Luckily, Nan met the love of her life when Mom was just little, so they got married, and then Papa adopted my Mom. Not because he had to, but because it was the right thing to do. He told me that he didn’t once not think of her as his own kid, and he loved her like a daughter until the day he died. They broke the mold, the day that guy was born.
Nan was no slouch herself either. She worked her ass off to provide for her and Mom, by waiting tables in restaurants and doing whatever it took to feed her baby. (No, not prostitution, but she was a very pretty lady.) She had two more kids with Papa, and they’re pretty awesome too, but this story is about Mom.
I don’t remember much about our life before the divorce, so I guess there’s not much point in elaborating, but I do remember a lot of it after. I’m not saying that I will remember it correctly, but I’ll try my best. One thing I remember, is when we got the house that she lives in today. It was a two bedroom bungalow, and it was really close to downtown. For those of you who know where it is, you are probably having a chuckle right now. Mom used to do just about everything to put food on the table, including, but not limited to: babysitting, baking bread, knitting and picking dew worms to sell to the Americans that used to vacation there when the dollar was low. We were clothed with mostly hand-me-downs, and we ate a lot of food from the garden. I have tears in my eyes thinking about how hard that must have been for her, alone, broke, and trying to raise three little kids. She worked so hard, and she rarely complained, but I can sure imagine that she wanted too. Mom would always say, that she would have lived in a box, if it meant that she would get to keep us kids.
Until, I became a step-dad, I didn’t understand the truth to her words. I’ve seen the look in Mrs. Birdman’s eyes when she talks about her girls, and it’s the same look that my Mom had. If I had to describe it in one word: Fire. It’s kind of like they dare you to try anything with their kids, because they will enjoy tearing you to shreds if you do. I remember one parent teacher interview, that Mom came out of in a fury, because my seventh grade teacher told her to put me out with the trash on garbage day. I tell you, I sure wouldn’t mess with her, not when that fire is dancing behind her pupils anyhow. I guess if I had been a better student, and wasn’t always getting myself in shit, things would have been a lot easier for her. Looking back on the things I could have, or should have done, isn’t going to help anyone, but I feel I owe you a few apologies, so here goes.
I’m sorry for the
hours nights years of constant worry; I know now, that kids should not stay out all weekend without even a phone call. I’m sorry for complaining about not having things; I shouldn’t have made you feel bad about not giving us what a few of the other kids had, when looking back, there were far worse off than us. At least we had a warm, loving home, waiting for us. I’m sorry for never applying myself; I was lazy, and had no ambition. You always told me that I could do anything that I put my mind to, and you were right. Unfortunately, I put my mind to drinking and smoking dope, instead of making something of myself and becoming an adult. I’m also sorry for the times I was disrespectful; you loved me more than anyone else ever had, and I took that for granted, instead of giving you the respect that you deserved. There are lots more, but I don’t think they have enough room on the internet for all of it. Yes, I know that dwelling on the past isn’t going to get us anywhere, so I guess that appreciating some of the things that you’ve done for us, might. I know I speak for my sisters as well, when I write this next paragraph.
Mom, thank you for keeping us, for loving us, and for always believing in us, even when we didn’t believe in ourselves. Don’t think for a minute, that we would have ever wanted our lives to be different than they were; you gave us more than money, or things ever could. Thank you for all of the half-assed spankings, and for never following through with a full grounding. Thank you for always being there, when we were depressed, hurt or heartbroken; and for never saying “I told you so”, when things backfired on us. We would also like to thank you for sacrificing your life as you knew it, for three little kids, that must have always seemed so unappreciative, and demanding. Also, thanks for always having time for us, even after babysitting every other kid in the village, and doing all of your other jobs; we know now that you could have used an extra hour of sleep, but you never took it. Thank you for fighting for us, and for always standing up for us. You have a lot of courage packed into that tiny body. There are so many things that I have in my head that I should say to you right now, but I think I might be rambling, so I’ll just say thank you, and tell you that we know we could never repay you for everything, so you can have our undying love as a down payment, and we will negotiate terms for the rest.
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied. That leaves only me to blame ’cause Mama tried,