This is a tribute to my mother who just passed away about a month ago now. Her 59th birthday would have been tomorrow. As many of you surely know, she was a very special person and was wonderful in too many ways to count. I do not wish to rewrite my eulogy, nor do I wish to upset any readers, but I would like to share some of the ways in which she inspired me.
Since this is a bit of a public therapy session for myself, I’ll go ahead and do what I do best: a list.
Ways in which my mother was awesome:
- She taught me very thoroughly and thoughtfully how to be a decent person. I have such poignant memories of my mother sitting me down to explain, for example, exactly why such-and-such a comment may have been hurtful to my schoolmate. She never punished without explanation and she never reprimanded without kindness shining through.
- She taught empathy and generosity through her own words and actions. She had a soft spot for those less fortunate. We would often travel to Philadelphia or New York City on the weekends when I was really little. In the 80s, these places could be pretty seedy and full of homeless folks and such. If someone looked truly hungry, she would take me into a store to buy a sandwich or whatever – always holding my hand tight and ensuring my safety. She always said one of her favorite things was when we got to shop for school supplies each coming Fall. After I went away to college, she began participating in a program to “fill a backpack” with school supplies for local children in need. She often cried for the wrongly accused – this was a special subject for her about which I believe she felt extremely saddened.
- She rewarded honesty above all else. Mind you, I was kind of a goody two-shoes. But if I did end up in some kind of trouble, honesty would be honored. I could tell her everything and ask any question (even through my teenage years – oy!) without fear of judgement. Even if I did try to lie, she knew immediately anyway. Moms know EVERYTHING.
- She expected me to achieve my personal best. Everyone looks at me with wide (and frightened) eyes when I explain that my mother forced me to get straight As in school. However, what I always must explain is that she expected this because I got As the previous semester and the one before that. “If all you were capable of was a C+, I’d expect straight C+s,” she would say. This is not an exaggeration – I would be in actual trouble when I brought home B grades in my best subjects.
- I was afraid of her. Yep – I admire this a LOT actually. She was my friend in so many ways, but until the day she died she could give me “the look” and I’d know I needed to shape up and improve my behavior. This woman meant what she said and she was a seriously good parent.
- She taught me manners. I am thankful that she took the time to impart upon me social skills and proper manners (yes, yes, haha). No really, she did. If I was rude to someone, I was forced to apologize – it was not considered cute and it was not ignored. I will always remember these lessons in particular.
- When I left home and became an official adult, she stayed out of my damn hair. Thank goodness for this SERIOUSLY. I have always had trouble relating when friends’ parents were any other way. Yes, this means I made huge mistakes during my college years. But as they say, those experiences make you the person you are and I am so thankful she had the wisdom to let me live my own adult life.
- She was loyal to me and soooo protective. There are girls that were mean to me in elementary school (Do you read my blog St. Anthony’s girls? Hello!) who were given the stink eye by my mother as recently as 2012. OH YEAH. And boyfriends/love interests, they fell into essentially 2 categories in her eyes: “in love with Sara” or “gay”. To her, there were really no other possibilities.
- She was so openly loving every single day. My parents were not perfect, nor was my childhood perfect by any definition. However, I always knew that my mom loved me unconditionally – she ensured that this was the case. Because of her love, I am a better wife, mother, and friend than I ever could have been without her.
Thanks for reading. 🙂