I mentioned on Monday that the 19th was my mothers birthday. I wanted to save what I think of my mom until today – Thanksgiving Day – because she is who I want to dedicate this special day – of day of thanks to the Lord our God. I don’t want to give you a life history of her I just want to share with you how special this woman is to me and to my family.
When I sit back and think about my mom and what she has meant in my life, the word sacrifice is first and foremost. My mom was a stay at home mom and did a great job of raising the 7 children she (and Dad were blessed with). Dad worked more than just “9-5” and as I mentioned in a previous post, the only time we saw him growing up was for breakfast, usually half of Saturday and on Sunday’s. Mom was tasked with making us lunch, dinner, getting us from school, getting us to all of our extra curricular activities, keeping the house clean, washing, folding, ironing, patching the holes in our uniforms for school, disciplining us (as we got older, I remember the line she used to tell us – Just wait until your father gets home!!). Looking back and reflecting on this, I don’t remember a time where she complained about having to do all that she took responsibility for in raising us. Why? Knowing now what I didn’t know then, this wasn’t her job. People quit jobs; people take different jobs when a better offer comes along. What it was for her was much deeper than that – it was (and still is) her vocation. Just as Christ sacrificed for us, she too was willing to sacrifice all that she could out of love for her husband, her children and her God.
I am also thankful for the love of God that Mom has given me. My parents were both active with our parish – St. Blaise – while we were growing up, but truth be told, it was my mother who instilled in my the desire to want to do more for God, for the Church. Yes, my father was a permanent deacon in Catholic Church and was a great role model, but it was Mom I saw getting up everyday at 4:30 AM to read the Bible. It was Mom who would make us write the readings for the day when we didn’t behave properly at Mass on Sunday; it was Mom who stood up for the Church and instructed us to walk out of a Mass whenever a certain priest would say it. (Just a little side note on that. Do you know how hard it was going to a Catholic school and being a young child to get up and walk out of Mass? You knew you were going to be punished by your teacher but your only thought was “Hey teacher – you ain’t nearly as tough as my Mom, so I’m outta here.”) Again, with no disrespect to my father, I could truly see Christ in my mother because she was so deep in the trenches with all of her children growing up.
Today, physical ailments has slowed my mother down a bit. But gosh darn it, she still is out there trying new things. 3 quick examples.
- She and her best friend Delores go to the movies every week. If they don’t go to movies, they’ll rent a DVD and head back to Delores’ house, pop some popcorn and spend the afternoon together. They recently went to see the 18th remake of “A Star is Born”. I’m not sure what they were expecting to see – Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand? They made it through like 5 minutes of the movie and went back out to the lobby and got their money back. Mom told me that she wasn’t “into porn”. Maybe a re-title for the movie “A Star is Porn”?
- Most of you know that she has been living with my sister Janice’ and her family for quite some time now. Growing up, Mom had a rule that if you were a guest in someone’s house for dinner, you ate what was served to you without complaint. Mom will tell you she is not a fan of stew. (Another side bar. Growing up, my mother made some pretty epic meals…fried chicken, Swiss steak, pork chops with mushroom gravy, Roast beef, spaghetti. The woman could cook!!! Two things that were not on her list of edible foods – barley soup and beef stew). So, not being a fan of stew AND being a “guest” in my sisters house, Janice’s husband Brett made stew for dinner. Mom, not wanting to break her rule of eating what is served, put fork to food and food to mouth and is now a big fan of stew. Let me clarify. She is a fan of Brett’s stew – her recipe still has dogs asking for canned “strongheart” in lieu of eating her what she called stew…we called it “ewhhh” growing up.
- Texting. My siblings, my moms sister Jackie, and I have taken to texting with each other as our regular means of communication. Not individually, but as a group text. It is a great way of sharing our everyday lives with each other now that miles separate us from each other. It was a few months back when Brett and Janice’ were on a weekend camping trip and I was spending the day with Mom that she mentioned how badly she wanted a new cell phone that would allow her to join in on the fun as part of our group texting. I sent a text out to the fam and my brother Jeff stepped up and said he had a spare cell phone Mom could use and had it shipped to her. Janice spent a couple of days prepping her for the oncoming onslaught my mom was about to partake in…there are times when we hit a “hot” topic, if you walk away from your phone for let’s say dinner, you’ll come back to 50 texts that you missed. So, Mom has been part of the group text for a couple of months now. She will be the first to tell you that her hands are NOT as nimble as they used to be and her first few texts messages were rather comical. But she has really gotten the hang of it and is even adding emoji’s at the end of her texts to accentuate her messages. I’m going to have to keep my son Tony away from her over the holidays or she’ll have the headset on and streaming with him playing Halo (or whatever that game is) all of hours of the night.
So it is this Thanksgiving Day that I say thank you to God for the gift of my mother for she is beautifully and wonderfully made. I am blessed to have such a wonderful woman to have raised me and along with my Dad, shape me into the man that I am today. I am thankful that she said “Yes” to God’s will. Because of her “yes”, I have not only 6 beautiful siblings (Janice’, John, Jeff, Jim, Joe, Jay) but I have their spouses and families to thank God for too. Because of her “yes”, I learned that being married and being a parent isn’t a job, it is much more meaningful than that – it is our life. Thank you God and thank you Mom. I love you very much.
One last comment about my mother. The three mantras I write a the end of each post – she is a shining example of a woman who has lived those each and every day of her life.
Do something great for our Lord today – give Him thanks for all things great and small in your life. Happy Thanksgiving to each of you.
God’s will, not mine, be done.
Be not afraid; just have faith.
Jesus, I trust in You.