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I Started This Way Too Late.... - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
I Started This Way Too Late....
Considering that I had 100 years to get ready for it.

On this day, a century ago, one half- the better half- of my DNA came into being.  I know very little about my mother's life from before my own life, and almost nothing about what it was before she married.  There's a picture floating around somewhere of her on a boat that took her between New York and the Netherlands. That was the one trip I know of where she met her biodad, who returned to the Old Country and, best as I ever knew, never returned to her life.

Her education never got even significantly into high school. Her diploma from a Brooklyn primary school hung in our garage for most of my life.  Neither did she acquire skills that would make an independent life possible outside The Home.  Within it, she tried: she cooked, she cleaned, she raised three kids.  None would win her any awards.  Yet those kids each managed in their own ways to excel, and eventually escape, the life of devotion and dependence that she never could.

Here she is with her daughters on the older's graduation day from high school in 1957:

(I have a small photo folder with plenty from that day which I will share with my nieces.)  This next one is after Sandy moved out- her and Donna, labeled by Mom as "the ladies in pink suits" circa 1965:

(Note the fiberglass drapes behind them; our neighbor who just passed away last month had a set of these in her cellar, which we were warned not to even touch while helping organize things for disposal over there.)

I was spared the pink but not the fiberglass; here's one with me and Mom from probably the same day:

Next up, probably around 1970; the only clue is "vacation in Penn," so we were probably visiting Sandy's in-laws:

Within a year or two, I was taller than she was.

And finally, one of the final pictures we have of Mom- from our wedding reception in 1987, with my niece Michele under the big hair and her dad photobombing:

Yes, these pictures have seen better days. But she was so much a part of so many of them- all of our graduations, weddings and christenings as long as she lived.  For most of the final decade, she didn't respond to who we were or what we said, but we always had the memories of how she tried, and how she cared.

Mom was the Grandmistress of the Impractical Fix. When I wasn't much older than that train picture, I had a fall of some sort that ripped a seam out of the leather seat on my bicycle. I was so upset that I was going to get the This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things lecture from my father, so she set out to make it right with her unique brand of "There, I Fixed It"- by trying to tape the seam back up. With Scotch tape.  That was Mom all over.

To this day, when I give a client or opponent a second chance- or third, or tenth, or an uncountably high number; when I never stop listening no matter how sure I am I'm right and somebody else is wrong; when I come to expect the best out of people and situations that have every reason to prove me wrong. In all of these, my mother's spirit of kindness continues to live on, as of today into its second century.

We toasted Mom as we ate tonight, and I'm sure her answer to that would've been, "That's nice." And so, happy birthday to the oldest and best of my family of Damn Scorpios.
2 comments or Leave a comment
ecosopher From: ecosopher Date: October 28th, 2016 06:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Happy birthday to your mom! She sounds absolutely awesome.
tilia_tomentosa From: tilia_tomentosa Date: October 29th, 2016 12:18 am (UTC) (Link)
That's such a nice tribute. :)

That's a degree of kindness that I can only admire from a distance, I'm afraid. :)
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