My father was the rudder that kept our family ship on course but my mother was every other part of that ship.
Mom was firmly entrenched with one foot in the 'old world Italian heritage' that she grew up with and the other planted in more modern times that my brother and I were experiencing. To her credit she handled both very well; allowing us to experience what we wanted while ingraining our heritage deep within us.
She taught us love of family. Especially for its older members. The relationship she fostered between us and our grandfathers produced some of the most significant experiences of our lives.
Moms life changed quickly in January 1969 when my father passed away at the age of 49. It was sudden, tragic and left us no time to prepare. But Mom held us together best she could trying as hard as possible to give us a stable life.
The pain she suffered, at the loss of my father, would have been to much to bare for most people. Mom kept that pain inside and soldiered on keeping the family together.
I smile often when I think about my Mom. Mothers Day and her birthday are particularly hard days for me but when I think of all she accomplished I regain that smile.
My mother went to school through the 3rd grade then quit to go to work cutting patterns in a dress shop. Working at an early age was common back then and her coming from a family of 11 children(she was the second oldest) was a necessity. She worked in the garment industry all her life finally rising to be a union representative late in life.
I have fond memories of picking her up at work every afternoon. Our time to talk and spend precious time together.
There are things that make me smile every time they cross my mind; like her driving her old Neapolitan car(that was so small it made a Volkswagen look spacious) all over town to get us to where ever we had to go.
Her love for everything Don Ho that was fostered by a trip to Hawaii with my aunts. His song 'Tiny Bubbles' brings memories of Mom rushing back when ever I hear it.
But what I remember most about my mother was how much she loved my father. How that love never died in all the years between his passing and hers. She had found her one true love and never wavered from that love. She honored their marriage all those years.
Mom passed away at age 85 in 2004. While in the hospital, for the last time, her doctor told her that there were still things they could do to prolong her life.
Mom, with not even a little thought, told the doctor "My husband has waited 35 years for me and now its time to go to him". That kind of love is what we all search for and she found it.
In my dreams I see them walking hand and hand, Mom looking like the beautiful black haired girl who waited through WWII to get married after knowing my father since they were little children and Dad so debonair in his uniform.
Happy Mothers Day Mom.
I love you very much