Mother’s Day is one of those joyous/sad holidays. Joyous because my children celebrate with me—either in person or via Facetime. Sad because I miss my mother.
This picture was taken outside the church after my baptism. She was so young, only twenty when I was born. Six more children came after me. Coming from a family of two, she didn’t quite know what to do with seven. But she managed. Dad built our house—with help from his brothers and dad. Once the basic interior was done, sheetrock walls and plywood floors, he was done. So it was up to Mom to finish. She learned how to spackle and tape and lay tile floors. Not the peel-and-stick type tile. Oh, no. The kind where you had to spread tarry-like adhesive. She’d never done anything like that. But she managed.
Add nursing care to her list of accomplishments. All of us children went through many of the childhood illnesses today’s kids are vaccinated against—measles (both kinds), mumps, chicken pox. Mom managed our care. Broken bones, lacerations, etc. sent her to Emergency, injured kid in tow. When my dad’s COPD became worse, she nursed him, too.
After he was gone, she blossomed. Took trips around Europe with my mother-in-law and her sister, sold off the albatross of a house, enjoyed her grandchildren, and gardened for fun in her new condo.
She celebrated her 80th birthday with family and friends before Alzheimer’s sneaked in and stole her from us. As the disease progressed, we occasionally caught glimpses of her old self. The last picture I have of her (below) was taken six weeks before she died. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I see recognition in her eyes. That she understood she was holding my first grandchild.
I wish my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren could have known what a remarkable woman she was.