My mom was my hero. Of course, I did not fully understand this when she was alive. I found her advice annoying, her calls intrusive, her desire to love me infantilizing. I took her for granted. How sad for me. And how normal. She was my greatest supporter, cheerleader, and die hard fan.
It took me time to be secure enough to accept her offerings without feeling belittled, to feel proud of the different and exceptional woman she was. She didn’t fit the mold of the era, she was outspoken, smart, divorced, and a working woman long before it was popular to be one. She gave me a role model I didn’t want, not when I was young. I wanted her to be avalable for my school trips and make cookies with me after school like the other moms. She was instead an avid reader, a communicator, a loving and difficult parent, and a representative of resilience. After work, we’d sit in the kitchen while she cooked dinner and we would discuss our days, then when the dishes were clean, we’d curl up on the couch to watch our favorite television programs each with a generous helping of our favorite ice cream in a deep bowl. On weekends we’d listen to Joan Baez and Bob Dylan and sometimes Johnny Mathis and dance around the living room, leaping and hopping and laughing.
I resisted what she gave, not intentionally, I was a child who longed for normalcy, I wanted our family to be average, common, like my friends. She offered an extraordinary, wide open to criticism existence. She was in the Army at 18 years old during World War II. She taught me, albeit begrudgingly on my part, that women were strong and capable and only limited by themselves and their beliefs. She taught me how to be a mother, what unconditional love and sincere devotion looked like, and how to be a powerful and less than perfect human being.
I now realize how liberating and empowering that was. How magical my time with her turned out to be. I have everything to thank her for.
And mom, I miss you intensely, but I also appreciate you beyond my ability to express. I expect, on some divine plane, you already know this.