A Tribute to Mom

Mother's Day is sometimes rough on me because I find it difficult to find the "perfect gift" for my mother. Babs is the sentimental sort and she always tells me she loves my writing, so I thought a blog tribute would be a nice treat for her. Unfortunately, Josh has my laptop and therefore I can't access all my pictures. I will have to make do with what I can find on Flickr and elsewhere. I'll probably end up putting a bunch more on later, though.

The story would have to begin with my grandparents. My Grandpa was a Marine and went off to war. He was captured at one point and managed to escape. He made it back home, extremely thin and frazzled. My Grandma fattened him back up, nursed him back to health, and they started working on their huge legacy. It wasn't until after the war that they started having kids. They ended up with 7!!! My mom, Barbara (Babs) was the first born. She was raised in the projects with her 5 sisters and 1 little brother. They had a rough life, but you would never know it looking at them now, or in pictures. They were always happy because they had each other. My mother raised us to value family above all else, and rightly so. Money will be gone tomorrow, but family is forever! Who needs friends when you have 6 brothers and sisters ;)

And so the story goes, boy meets girl, girl wants to become a nun but changes her mind, boy and girl get married (hahaha). I don't know how my mom and dad found anything in common with each other. They both came from humble beginnings, but my dad was an only child to a single mother. My mom was surrounded by siblings and a happily married mom and dad. So I guess the old saying "opposites attract" might apply. Whatever it was that drew them together, it was awesome! Barb and Glenn popped out 7 babies and raised them to be successful, happy adults. Yeah we've had our problems, but we all stick together and love each other.

Things I remember most about my mom is how she played. Sometimes I forget she was there because she would bring herself down to our level and connect with us, and teach us along the way. She was always encouraging us to use our imaginations more and more. She pushed us outside and away from the TV, supplied us with more arts and crafts than any other kids I've ever met. We had costumes, play food, puzzles, dolls, blocks, puppets, video cameras. I had the best childhood ever. I didn't want to grow up!

She is an expert on early childhood development, and not because she went to college. She LIVED it... she basically wrote that class, I swear. When one school of child-rearing was saying kids need to be protected and have their egos stroked, my mom was saying "no they need competition, and to learn how to lose". She was right, not the "experts". Look at all these weak little co-dependent kids created by over-protection. Mom raised us to be strong, independent, questioning, respectful, intelligent adults. She did this by allowing us to be people, not babies our entire lives. She didn't talk down to us, she just talked to us. I know my mom spanked me a few times, but I hardly remember them. Mostly I remember all the love and singing, dancing, reading, laughing, talking, and playing we did. Her whole life was about us... what she could show us that day, what she could teach us. She opened our minds like sponges, ready to learn. Kids are amazing if you give them a chance. If you ask the right questions you'll get some really interesting (and usually hilarious) answers. We're all extremely intelligent because she allowed all those little doors and windows to stay open when we were kids. She protected us in the right ways, keeping us from violence and sex. We lived in a wonderful little sheltered world and we flourished.

Even though she was busy with the home daycare and 2 other kids, she somehow managed to make me feel special. She had "weekends with mom" with us. We would go out to eat, just the 2 of us, and maybe catch a movie or go shopping. It was different for every kid because every kid was different. I love my mom very much and I could never thank her enough for giving me the tools to become the person I am today. I could never thank her enough for my childhood. Happy Mother's Day, Mom!! :D We love you!! Can't wait to see you in a couple weeks :)

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