Saturday, May 07, 2005

We Are Only Half-Joking About the CIA Bit

So my mother and I have an interesting relationship. She has never been a very demonstrative mother, and that used to be a big problem for me. Now I just realize that is how she is, and I don't really take it personally. With the birth of Mr. Personality (which she was present for) we were able to take it to a bit of a different level. She has so far had a very interesting life.

She was born in Germany. She was the daughter of two immigrants from Germany who spoke barely enough English to get by when they arrived in the United States a little bit after WWII.

She got pregnant at age 18 and had a bit of a shotgun wedding to my father, who was also 18. They will celebrate 40 years of marriage this August.

She was, and is technically still, a registered nurse who spent the majority of her working life helping gravely ill people. She was an ICU nurse for years, and also worked at a nationally known burn center participating in the treatment of severe burn victims. I am sure some of her experiences have taken some years off of her life.

She had ambition and intelligence enough to complete her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in nursing at UCLA.

While she was working and going to school, she found the time to attend practically every single sporting event and performance I ever had. If she missed anything, it would have been because she was ill.

Despite her lack of enthusiasm about cooking, she insisted we have a family dinner together every night.

I have only seen my mother cry twice.

She hates reruns and makes fun of people who see things twice. Which would be most of the population.

She has travled to China and Japan. Pretty much by herself.

Our family joke is that at her funeral, not one of us would be the least bit surprised if the CIA came to mourn one of their best agents. She can be very secretive.

She worked so that our family could afford to send my sister and me to private schools for the duration of our academic careers. Some people might disagree with that choice, but she saw education as a way for my sister and I to achieve independence, which was very important to her. Not in a "get out of my house" way, but in that we wouldn't need to rely on anyone (read: a man) to support us.

She routinely volunteers her time, mostly as a CPR instructor.

To this day, she always bakes our birthday cakes.

If I was grounded, (which was quite often) she made sure the grounding ended at exactly the time it began. For instance, if I was grounded for a week at 530pm on Sunday, the punishment lasted until the next Sunday at 530pm. No exceptions.

She was not the "buddy" type of Mom who shopped with you at the mall and told you how cute you looked in that skirt. She was the type of Mom who would frown at your outfit and say that you needed to change. Growing up, I know that I did not appreciate the work and sacrifice my mother did so that I could live a better life. I thought she was mean, strict, and uncaring.

But, with the small amount of wisdom I have gained through the years, I see now how much her parenting did to help me along the turbulent paths of childhood and adolescence. Everything she did, mistakes and all, was because she cared. Although I wish we could be a little closer, I know that my mother loves me and wants the best for me. And that is all any child can really ask.

Mom, thank you.

You are a strong and amazing woman. I am so proud of you.

Happy Mother's Day.


Anvilcloud said...

Totally unrelated but congratulations on being "The Greater Irmo Mother of The Year." Now, if I can just figure out what an Irmo is ...

Mel said...

Awww, what a nice tribute.