Sunday, May 13, 2012

Memories of My Mother

Mom was a lighthearted woman.  She sang around the house (we teased her, claiming that her voice was terrible.  It wasn't a Grammy-quality voice, but it was fine).

Like most people, she sang the songs of her youth - in her case, the 1940s.  I didn't realize how often I'd heard them, until one day, I was watching Name That Tune.  The music of the show was WWII songs - I was, for once, VERY good - I knew them all.

Mom was patient.  She listened to my brother and I read stories aloud (prompting us to "sound it out" when encountering an unfamiliar word), let us recite our times tables, and helped us learn new skills - cooking, sewing, knitting, etc.

At a relatively young age (early 40s), Mom developed Rheumatoid Arthritis.  By the time I had my last child, she was in a wheelchair.  From that point on, she largely stayed home; it took much planning to arrange outings.  My dad retired early, both due to his poor health (he had pancreatic cancer), and to care for her.

Mom's life was not one that makes great biographies; she never held prestigious jobs, attended college, or managed charities or organizations.

What her special gift was that she made everyone that knew her feel special.  She had time to listen to those that needed it.  She gave her attention to others, without needing to be the focus of attention.

That's a very rare quality, and a large part of what made her special.

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