Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Valentine for Mom

I've been thinking about my mother lately. It's getting near Valentine's Day - that was Dad's and her anniversary. They eloped on February 14, 1948. They were married 46 years when she died. Dad followed her 4 years later. I always felt that he lost the will to live after her death.

Mom was a light-hearted person. She had what the French call joie de vivre - a love of life.

As a teen, I was often irritated with Mom. She seemed, to me then, to be overly giddy, giggly, and frivolous. I was temperamentally more like my father, who had a more dour disposition.

Even after leaving home, I didn't fully realize what a contribution she made to the family, and to everyone around. If anyone needed a friend, or a shoulder to lean on, she was there. She would brew a pot of tea, and dedicate herself to listening with full attention.

She managed to keep a temperamental and, sometimes, difficult man thoroughly in love with her for nearly half a century. For a post-war marriage entered into on short acquaintance, and hampered by too many children and too little money, that's a near miracle. Marriages all around them broke and scattered family to the winds - theirs endured and grew stronger.

One of the few song categories that I ace is WWII songs. Mom used to sing while doing the housework. I caught myself singing a few weeks ago, in the morning before school. Unfortunately, I inherited her voice. Too bad - I really like to sing.

I started thinking about her today, after talking to my youngest daughter. She is married with 3 children. She just left her job to tend to them, as they needed her more than she needed the money. That's something my mother did more than once, leaving a job she enjoyed to care for the family.

I like to think that my mother's influence has extended to a new generation. I'm going to make a cake next month, a heart-shaped one, in honor of a very good wife and mother.

Here's to you, Mom.

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