Though we celebrate women on the daily, Mother’s Day allows us to sing her praises just a bit louder. Here’s my story, but we’d love to hear yours! Read on for details.
When I think of my mother, I think of yellow sunshine. Tenacious, powerful, unrelenting.
She was never the warm and fuzzy type as I was growing up — she never forgot to kiss me goodnight but she also wasn’t one to cuddle in front of the TV with my sister and me. We felt love in her many acts of service: she ensured our home was always spotless — waking us up early on the weekends with the vacuum running right outside our doors — and she made us delicious meals – among my all-time favorites are her breaded veal cutlets and mashed potatoes, but her chocolate cake with chocolate frosting is a close second. We never lacked for anything and we grew up watching her love and adore our father. Sometimes their love made us feel like outsiders, sidekicks to their twosome.
When things started to unravel between them, despite the pain she must have been feeling, she was our rock. In the midst of their marriage slowly coming to an end, all four of us relocated from Italy to the US, with her as our only English-speaking point of reference. Unstoppable, she lined up a full-time job for herself, enrolled me in my first year of high school, procured a part-time job for my older sister, and found a beautiful house we could make our home. I don’t recall any hesitation. Only unyielding drive. And that forward motion propelled all of us in the same direction, especially during the times when all we wanted was to go backwards: back to Italy, back to the familiar, back to having two happy parents.
After the divorce, my father returned to Italy and my sister and I stayed in the US with mom, who worked and provided for us without overseas help. She eventually met a man from Texas and married in a small but sweet ceremony at a gorgeously pink hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida. I loved seeing her in love again, in a happy marriage. She doted on my stepfather and he spoiled her. Ten years after their wedding, he lost his battle with cancer, leaving her in a huge house on a mountain in upstate New York. I can’t begin to imagine what she must have felt after that loss. Both her daughters far away in Chicago, with no other family around to help, she packed up all their belongings, sold the house and moved to Austin, TX to start over, yet again. I don’t recall complaints in any of our phone conversations during that time. Heartbreak, yes, but never defeat.
Today she is happily married to another Texan with whom she road trips the state, goes on hikes, and shares a beautiful house on a lake. She is content. She still smiles. A constant reminder that no matter how tough things get, they will always get better. That if you get knocked down, you have the strength to get back up and start over. I think of her as a ray of sunshine. No matter what storms cross her path, she remains confident that they will pass and that is the greatest lesson she could have hoped to pass down to her daughters.
SHARE YOU OWN MOTHER’S STORY!
All you need to do is write and share with us a short story about motherhood.
Has your mother (or grandmother) had an incredible impact on you? Did you recently become a mother? Are you struggling with the idea of becoming one?
Please include a photo (preferably horizontal in format, with a minimum pixel width of 800) with your story.
Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org and write “Mother’s Day Story” in the subject line. Deadline is May 6th. Open to US residents only.
THREE OF YOU WILL BE SELECTED TO BE FEATURED IN OUR MOTHER’S DAY POST AND WIN A FREE PEOPLE GIFT CARD !