Being thankful, Day #13

Day thirteen is a hard day to come up with something to be thankful for.  Not for any other reason than i would like it to be somewhat special.  &lt:-P party The only thing that makes it special is that it's thirteen, a supposedly unlucky number.  Growing up my mother was a crazy superstitious woman.  I remember her telling me that she would have preferred i was born in Philadelphia (pretty sure, time fogs the memory) because they do not adjust for daylight savings time and i would have been born on the 12th instead of the 13th.  It was not a slight, or a disappointment, to me.  She had a thing for black cats, walking under ladders, picking up coins that were tails up (any coin), etc..  Once we walked on opposite sides of a pillar and she walked all the way back, halfway across a parking lot to go back around the same side of the pillar as i did - just because i refused to say "bread and butter".  I must have been no end a source of consternation for her. 

She, my mother, passed away in December of 2000.  She never got to see my daughter, she never knew about 9/11 (which i am pretty thankful for), she has not seen my two boys grow up.  She was far from perfect.  She drank and smoked herself to death.  It was only in the end that she saw what she had done to herself.  While my mother had custody of us, she was not usually home.  I grew comfortable eating cereal or a tub of whip cream, or grilled cheese, for dinner, because she was out at the local pub or who knows where.  I learned how to vacuum and wash dishes, do laundry (sort of), i scrubbed a toilet or two.  I grew comfortable being around strangers (ones i rarely had to interact with), i played a LOT of pinball (and got pretty good IMO, skills that have faded with disuse). As best i can remember i have lived in:  Washington, DC; Cherry Hill, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; Brooklyn, NY; Alexandria, VA, Arlington, VA; Annandale, VA; Columbia, MD; Athens, WV; Olney, MD; Rockville, MD; Silver Spring, MD - and these are just the cities i remember before i turned 16.

She fought a losing battle with depression for all the years that i knew her.  But for all her faults and failures, to the best of her ability, she tried to provide a better life for my brother and me.  I remember her putting us with a nanny and her family in Philadelphia Monday through Friday, i remember her putting my brother and i on a church bus on Sunday mornings (i once won a hostess cupcake :P tongue).  She did her best to date respectable men (which, with one notable exception, she was a pretty decent judge of character).  She once had us stay with some cousins in West Virginia because she knew they were a good family, and she was not able to support us.  She is a main reason that i am so fond of Christmas time too.  While there were rarely more than a handful of presents under the tree, she always put a lot of thought in to them, and she did her best to convey what the celebration was truly about - a time set aside to celebrate the coming of the Divine in to the world of man.

Today i share my thankfulness for my mother.  By many standards, she was not a good mother, and i am just being honest here, but i am still very thankful for her because she was the one whom God had placed me with.  It is a part of what makes me who i am today, and i know that she loved me, and i her - despite my own laundry list of short comings. I have a love of Christmas, pinball, American Football, an understanding of families who struggle with poverty, addictions, and depression.  I have disdain for beer and cigarettes - but a level of comfort in pubs (go figure), and a dislike of those who do not try but make excuses.  I struggle with tidiness around my own home, with self discipline, and understanding others.  All of these i can in some form trace back to my mother.  Good, bad, whatever, she is the foundation of who i am, and i am forever thankful for her.

1 comment:

lovinandliving said...

There is a lot to be said for parents and they way they raise their children. We don't always do things the right way and most of the times we screw up as much as the children do. But it says a lot about who she was and what you learned while with her with how much regard you show for her.

Thank God for His hand in what went on!