Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dear Momma: A Tribute to a Mother's Love

     I was a fortunate fellow growing up.  We definitely weren't well off, and we surely didn't live in a mansion on the hill.  There were times that were tough and others that were not, and we probably weren't that much different than most.  However, I always felt special.  I felt rich and wealthy beyond what could be brought by monetary means.  My dear mother made sure that was so, and the fact is that she didn't have to.  My mother and father did not have to take on that slightly rebellious blonde haired, green eyed boy, but they did.  I am forever thankful that they did.  They took me in and cared for me, and I always felt that my life was remarkable because I had two mothers.  The mother that raised me and the mother that gave birth to me.  I was adopted into the same family, so to speak, at least that's how I used to explain it to my childhood friends.  As Mothers Day approaches this year I have looked back on my childhood and my beloved mother.  It is a bitter sweet exercise for me, because the lady that meant so much to me, and everyone that knew her, took her last breath not too long after Mother's Day 12 years ago.  In fact, she passed away only a few days after a new life had entered this world.  A life equally as important, and precious to me.  My son Jesse came into this world almost at the exact time that my Mother, who had been stricken with Parkinson's Disease, left it.  Their paths never crossed, and that is something that will forever trouble me.  Jesse was born about two months premature and if that would not have happened my mother never would have laid eyes on that beautiful boy.  She was only able to do that by watching a videotape that I provided my father, and he assured me that she saw my tiny baby boy.  That fine woman who sacrificed so much for me was gone, but assuredly she was not forgotten.  Equally as sad is the fact that she never spent time with the legendary Miss Madino, my spitfire daughter, but I have to say on many occasions when I look into Maddie's eyes I see my mother.  As I should, because she's there.  The following is a post in honor of one of the finest ladies I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  An ode to my mother...

     Those that knew her well called her Patsy, but she was always Momma to me.  Well, I guess that's not entirely accurate.  She was Granny at first, at least so I've been told.  I was very young and I can only recall a few things.  Initially I did not refer to her as Momma, because the adoption was still recent.  That all changed out of the blue one day when I all of a sudden began to call her Momma.  I was told later that seemingly insignificant verbal designation made her heart swell with happiness.  I called her Momma from then on, because after all, that's what she was.  To put it simply she was more than the matriarch of our clan, she was the sun that kept us all warm.  She was our protector, our nurturer, and the glue that held it all together.  I never had to doubt for a second that she was devoted to me.  I knew that, and it was an important thing to know.  I have never been a trusting person, and there have been very few people in my life that I knew were behind me no matter what occurred.  My mother was the first.  I always knew that life could knock me down, but she would be there encouraging me to get back up.  That's something that my mother and father instilled in me, and trust me, I've been knocked down so many times in my life that I've lost count, but I always get back up.  My Momma taught me that.  She was there when I lost my first tooth, and when I married the love of my life.  And outside of my dear wife, my mother was the kindest and most compassionate soul that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  No wonder those two were and are the most important women in my life.  Patsy was the perfect recipe of sweet and tough.  She was a saint for putting up with me, but she would layeth the smacketh down if need be.  That's a fact.  She was my Momma, and I was extremely proud of that fact.  She was a beautiful, caring woman who devoted her entire life to her family.  I was lucky that she chose me.

     She wore hot pants to the ballpark and drove a fine '68 Mustang.  She was a sight indeed.  Some of this was before my time, but she was still that beautiful woman when my time arrived.  She worked in the Lunchroom at school and on a moving van to help make ends meet, and she always gave me an extra dessert.  Shhh.  Don't tell.  She was stricken in the prime of her life, when many women her age were first experiencing grandkids or a certain balance that comes with maturity and middle age.  The disease ravaged her body for decades, and it was hard to watch.  Such a kind woman that would help anyone in need did not deserve this.  However, she never complained.  Not once that I ever heard.  She was still beautiful inside and out through it all.  Toughness is a virtue that is valued in athletics and competition of all kinds, and my mother had it.  I never realized how tough she really was until I was faced with health problems of my own.  She was stoic, inspiring, and elegant throughout her journey.  If I can be half the human being that she was then I would have accomplished something special.  An exceptional woman living an uncommon life.

     She never got to see Jesse hit a baseball or catch a football.  She never got to see Maddie do gymnastics or learn to swing and I know how very proud she would have been of them.  She never got to witness the family that Cheryl and I have now and the love that lives here.  It's sad in a way, but If you believe as I do, then she did witness all these things.  It is us that are missing out by not having her here.  An angel definitely was needed.  She got those wings.  She deserved them.  While we may miss her and wish that she was here, we're doing exactly what she taught us to do.  Get back up.  Live life and be happy while doing it.  It is a legacy that lives on.  She will live forever in that way.  Dear Momma, I want to say Thank you, because you believed in me and loved me.  I just hope that we can continue the legacy that you left behind.  The ones we leave behind will tell the story.  My Momma's story is extraordinary.  If you can, go and hug your mother today.  I sure do wish I could hug mine.  Happy Mother's Day to all those fantastic mothers out there!