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I was raised by a wonderfully strong and independent woman – though my mom wouldn’t exactly agree. She was just going about her life – raising children, working full time and hoping for the best. She raised me, my sister and brother on her own – a single mom back in the 70s.
Though it had its challenges, when I look back I can honestly say she made sure we always had a place we could call a home. Not just a house but a home. My mom always made sure to have a sit down family dinner, holidays with traditions that have stood the test of time and a sense of family even if it meant chores! As a single mother myself, her teachings were extremely valuable and yet they were not considered teachings and were not exactly intentional. She was in survival mode, walking the walk and loving her children in the way that she knew.
My mom had the strength to not let the pressure show – her mental fortitude and ‘just keep-moving-forward’ style to run the house as if everything is just normal was incredible. When I say normal I don’t mean normal as if there were no challenges – and no not a make believe normal. Just normal. She goes to work and comes home. Dinner is as a family around the table. Chores are expected and assignments made. Holidays like clockwork and the end result, traditions that I as a single mother followed to create a family experience for my son. I didn’t give credit to my mom while I was in the midst of chaos – I was just moving forward through the mire of demands and just knowing we were going to be okay.
My mom created a stable environment for my older sister, younger brother and I without us ever realizing what was happening. We were allowed to be kids. She had expectations of us and we met them without question. There were never ever any negative statements about my dad about her situation – no woe is me. It was always about what she had, not what she didn’t have. Everything moved along without making it about her loss. It was stable. She didn’t try to make up for anything we didn’t have. We were a one bike, meatloaf, corn and a salad, and boxed macaroni and cheese family.
We moved many times growing up as the rental had to be adjusted to reflect how much child support was coming in – we didn’t know that. We just packed and moved. It was never angry. There was no blame. It was stable.
I raised my son alone and in all of what that is and was, I modeled her straight forward traditional value, style and cadence. Now in the midst of a successful career, having raised my son who is now 26, I look back at our time as a family of two realizing how much my mom taught me. I am in awe of what she did for us. How she maintained a stable environment resulting in a stable and loving family – the four of us – we became very independent and self-reliant people. We hold ourselves high with regard to our responsibilities in our daily lives for each other, others we come into contact with and the world we live in.
Thanks for being my inspiration mom – my rose! The impact you have had on my life and the impact you have on others is measurable only if we take a moment to realize the gift and say thank you with the greatest of gratitude.
Your middle daughter, Kathy.