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Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Tribute to My Mother, My Hero, My Friend


My mother.  Her strength amazes me.


Her own mother passed away when she was only 11 years old.  I don't think my mother ever recovered from the loss.  I wish I had known my grandmother.  She was so beautiful.


That is my mother on the left.  I loved the dresses back then.


I love to see pictures of my mother as a child.  The look of pride on my grandmother's face says it all. Can you believe that my grandmother was 43 years old when she had my mother?  Even now I find it amazing when a woman in her 40s has a child.  The older you are the more difficult it is.


And here she is with her mother and father and sister.  They were a happy family growing up in Kentucky - until her mother became ill and passed away at the age of 54.


My mother was like any other little girl.  She loved to play dress up in her mother's clothes with her sister.


My mother grew up into a beautiful young woman, catching the eye of my father who was serving in the Army during WWII.


Of course, he wasn't the only one who had eyes for my mother - that is not a picture of my father next to that blanket.


Yes, my mother was a looker back in her day.


My father showed up at the theatre where my mother worked just after returning home from the war.  They dated for 6 weeks, fell in love, and got married in 1946.


Of course, a little bundle of joy showed up over a year later.  My brother Mike.


Four years later, my brother Billy arrived on the scene.  Here they are with my paternal grandmother, Mama Lill.  She was a feisty lady and the best grandmother ever.  Believe me when I tell you that she didn't put up with any crap - from anyone.


Even after 2 boys, my mother tried to stay in shape. 


Naturally, when I popped up (or popped out) in 1959, that was the end of wearing bathing suits.  Sorry Mom.  I know how you feel.


We traveled a lot growing up.  Mom and Dad always tried to squeeze in an annual vacation.


Why did I stand this way - with my knees locked back.  Strange child I was.


I had great parents and 2 wonderful brothers growing up.  They teased me and wrestled with me in the living room.  They refused to play bikes and cars with me.  They told me to "shut up" and to "get lost."  Yes, it was a grand childhood.


My mother tolerated a lot while I was growing up.  As you can see from the look on my face, I had my eye on something and wasn't about to cooperate with the photographer until I got it.


And the more I fussed, the more frazzled my mother became - as is evident by her hair.  It didn't help that what I wanted to hold in the picture was a skunk.  I was a difficult child.


My dad had big ideas and big dreams.  He ran for Congress and U.S. Senate back in the 60s.  My mother stood by my dad through all of his mis-adventures.


And even managed to get herself in the paper a few times.


My dad loved to entertain and show my mother a great time.  Nothing was too much when it came to spoiling my mother.  She was a great mother.  A good wife.  A wonderful housekeeper.  And a good typist too!


From the time I was born, my mother and father gathered ideas for their dream home, and when I was 11 years old, their dream home became a reality.  Sitting on 7 acres in Brookeville, Maryland overlooking Tridelphia Lake, my parents built their home.  It was a wonderful place to grow up.


My mom and dad were a happy couple.  There were a few rough patches along the way, but that's life.  That's marriage.  Getting through the tough times together is what family is all about, and my mother was the glue that held us all together.


I have always been proud of my parents.  I am especially proud of my mother.  I miss my father.


Sadly, 5 months after this picture was taken of my parents dancing for the last time in our Brookeville home, my father passed away.  I was 5 months pregnant with my 2nd daughter, Kimberly, when he passed.  My mother was strong.  She cried and she needed us, but she was still remarkably strong.  I think I would have fallen apart in her shoes.  I did fall apart.  "Mom - you are an incredible woman.  A fantastic mother.  And a true example of what a mother should be to her children."


Yes, my mother is a special lady.  She has picked up my falling pieces more than a few times too.


I have always been very proud of my mother, never knowing where she gets her strength and her energy.


She never fails to make me laugh and make me smile.


She was in the delivery room with me for the birth of 3 of my 4 children, helped me raise 2 of my children, moved in with me and my family 12 years ago, has been there by my side with my last 2 children, and has helped us raise our grandson, her great-grandson, as well.  Remarkable?  Absolutely. 


Unusual for her?  Not at all.  She is one tough cookie.  A hot chick. The best mother ever, and she has the smile to show it.  Of course, we are still driving Miss Daisy ...

I love you, Mom.


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