Like My Mother

I have this memory of my Mom. I distinctly remember sitting outside in the backyard of my childhood house- it was sunny and she was laying on a lounge chair and I was sitting in a chair, poolside. I was talking to her about a project I had to do for school, a college writing course on oral histories, and mulling over ideas of whom I’d like to profile. My grandma? Mrs. Miller, the spry old lady who worked at our elementary school all those years? Or maybe, her? My very own Mother? As a Women’s Studies/Literature major, I wanted to focus on a strong woman and her story.

I don’t recall exactly how we came to discuss the next bit but I remember saying to her that I was a lot like her in personality to which she disagreed. She pointed out that I was brave and smart and strong, that I plowed ahead with my goals and was unstoppable. I tried to counter that all those things she thought I was, I learned from her. But she wasn’t convinced. That conversation has always stuck with me- how a person can’t see themselves the way the people who love them see them is one of the great misfortunes of life.

I will tell you this now- my Mom is the bravest woman I know. She is brave with love and gives everything she has to the people she cares about. Years and years ago she fell in love with a man who later would break her heart in a million pieces and yet she kept on loving him. She raised my sister and I amidst the chaos and turmoil of alcoholism. She worked two jobs to make sure we could keep our house and maintain a semblance of our lifestyle when my Dad could no longer work. She never stopped encouraging us to go to college and thanks to her, I was the first one to graduate from a 4 year university from my extended family. She was at her best friend’s side daily as she battled cancer. She quit her job and became a full-time caregiver of my Grandma when the Parkinson’s became too much. She packed up her comfortable life with a view of the Pacific, friends, and a house, to move to Seattle and be with us.

When I think about my Mom, I am struck by her dedication to the people she loves, her courage in the face of great sorrow, her ability to laugh at life and enjoy the little moments, her welcoming warmth that has made her a second mother to many of our friends, her big heart that makes her give and give some more, and her tenacity of spirit.

I am my Mother’s daughter and I could not be more proud of that fact.

Happy Birthday, Mom. You are beautiful.

I love you.

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17 thoughts on “Like My Mother

  1. I love this post! What a beautiful tribute to your mother 🙂 My mother passed away in August 2009 and she was the strongest, bravest, most kind-hearted woman I’ve ever known. I’ve often thought that if I had to face even a fraction of the tragedies and obstacles that my mother experienced I would surely crumble to the ground and stay there indefinitely. And just as you wrote above, my mother did not see herself as a strong woman, but thats how I saw her. I don’t see myself as a strong woman either, but my daughter had to write a paper in 2010 about someone she looks up to and admires. Her subjects were my mother and I. I was honored and humbled. My daughter also has a tattoo that says “Stong Woman” in Chocktaw language on her wrist. She said she wants a continual reminder to herself that she IS a strong woman. And she is 🙂 Happy birthday to your beautiful mom!!! I hope she has a wonderful day!

  2. Aww, this is beautiful. I know we have a lot in common, so that may be why I feel like I understand what you write so well, but still, I get it because you express things like this beautifully.
    Happy birthday to your mama!

  3. This is so beautiful, Sizz. Such a loving tribute to an undoubtedly rad momma. And what a blessed lady she is, too, to have lovely, bubbly, giving, hilarious you for a daughter.

    (I hope her Day of Cake is a fantastic one!)

  4. I have never met your mum, yet I love her. My mum passed almost five years ago, and she was one of the most incredible people I have ever met in my life. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one that was blessed with a great mum.

  5. What a wonderful post – brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing this.
    My mom’s birthday is coming up too, and it sucks to be 1800 miles away from her.

  6. Oh, this brought tears to my eyes. Happy Birthday, Sizzle’s mom, the world is a much better place because of you!! (Sizzle, I love that you write so beautifully about your family).

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