Mother's Day is a good day to reminisce, to thank Mom. So this post might be a little rambling.
I never had a role model, other than my mother and my grandmother. This is my mother, the woman who taught me to read. I'm not one of those people who can't remember not reading. Instead, I remember learning to read in first grade. My mother spent hours going over flashcards and reading lists with me. I remember the green card with lists of words that I had to learn. Mom was always patient with me.
My parents and my mother's mother were all readers. My dad bought me a copy of Little Women in first grade when I received A's on my report card. When I was in third or fourth grade and bought a a copy of Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan through Scholastic Book Club, my mother was so pleased. She read and loved that book as a child. Three generations of my family have loved it. And, she and my dad always took us to the library.
My grandmother kept a list of the books she read, something I didn't know until she died. My mother gave me that list. Mom encouraged me to keep a list of the books I read, which I started doing in junior high. Now, Mom keeps a list, I keep a list, and my niece, Elizabeth, keeps a list of books read.
Mom didn't go to work until my youngest sister was in kindergarden. She worked as a bookkeeper, then at a bank, but finally found the job she retired from when she went to work in the library at a local vocational high school. Is it any surprise that I started working in the public library when I was sixteen, and never really left libraries? Both of my sisters also worked as pages in the public library after me. Today, my nephew, a senior in high school, is a library page, thinking right now of going into Library Science.
So, a love of reading, a love of libraries, came from my parents, particularly Mom. Any time I talk to my mom or sisters, we talk books. I send them books. Thanks to my youngest sister, I've even given Mom a gift of a book a month that I select from my favorites.
But, my Mom became even more important as a confidante and role model in the last couple years. My mother was widowed at 55. Twenty years later, she's had a full, wonderful life. When Jim died, I was 52. My mother's comments are what I remember, treasure, and live by. She told me, "Your life will never be the same. But, it can be just as good."
My Mom is living proof of that. She still volunteers at the Catholic school library where we all went to school. She loves her volunteer job at the hospital gift shop. She is on the road a lot, to grandkids' band concerts, plays, soccer, baseball, volleyball and basketball games. She's been to London, Toronto, New York City, all over the Midwest with family and friends. She still gets together with her grade school friends, and spends LOTS of time on the phone with her best friend from school. She's terrific on the computer, and sends me articles and links that she finds online. She still plays pinochle monthly with the same women as when I was in first grade. Mom was here within a day of Jim's death, and she and I had a wonderful time together when I went home to Ohio last summer. She told the family she was coming to Arizona for Christmas this past year to spend that first one with me. We talk on the phone for an hour at a time, and we laugh a lot. We call each other at halftime of Ohio State football games, and she knows as much about college basketball as anyone I know. Mom and I were the two in the family who once spent ten hours watching college football games together. And, the two of us share a memory of the coldest high school football game we ever attended, together.
I'm actually sitting here crying as I write this, but these are good tears. I told Mom that I was coming home in June for her 75th birthday. When she heard that, she said that was the only gift she needed, all three of her daughters together with her.
My Mom taught me how to read. I followed in her footsteps in to the library, the job I've loved for thirty-eight years. She's celebrated and enjoyed all my achievements. Mom has shown me how to live, and how to live a beautiful life after loss. My grandmother was a strong, wonderful woman. My mother has that same strength and beauty. I love you, Mom. Thank you.
Happy Mother's Day