My mom will celebrate her 84th birthday on October 16th, it seems like yesterday she was a “young” woman, so different from the thin framed, white-haired lady she is today. Riverside a suburb about 45 minutes from my home is my mother’s hub, We moved there in 1977, the year I graduated from high school.
Unlike me, my mom can count the times on one hand that she has had a professional mani & pedi, she has NEVER colored her hair, obviously I can’t say the same, and I could just about own a nail shop after 30 years of appointments. She prides herself on still being able to fit all her clothes from yesteryear, proud of never being “FAT”. Reminding my sisters and I that she wore her regular clothes six weeks after giving birth.
Her favorite and only travel destination is Hawaii; Europe, Africa, Asia will have to wait to another lifetime. Most restaurants she does not like, always finding something wrong with the food, preferring her own cooking and her american folgers coffee, no cappuccinos for her. Entertaining and preparing food for large groups is her second nature, always finding a reason to have a house full, extending invitations to everyone.
I will celebrate 25 years of marriage next year, I remember vividly when my mom divorced my father in 1968 before “divorce” was fashionable. At 38, with four children in tow, ranging in ages 2-16 she moved cross country from New Jersey to Compton California, with a small savings to start a “new’ life. I was 8, and have no memory of life being difficult, she enrolled me in St. Albert a local catholic school, although on occasion I do recall being called to the office because my mom did not pay the tuition, but I certainly was not the only one. She worked numerous jobs, including being a housekeeper in Brentwood, Westwood, Palos Verdes, etc., I remember going with her sometimes wanting to help at my little age, marveling at these estates saying to myself that one day I too was going to have a big house, as I quietly observed these women giving my mom instruction “Peggy, please don’t forget to do this or that”.
Determination is what I grew up watching, seeing a mother never give up at wanting to provide a life for her children. At 40, four kids and all, she married again and had another baby, way before it was vogue to be 40+ and pregnant. She returned to school in her late 50’s and went on to complete her masters degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at the young age of 64. At 83 she is still ripping and running with the next generation, always at games, dance recitals, etc. never missing any milestones for the grandchildren. She discovered yoga in recent years and does not let anything interfere with her “zen” or her water aerobics.
Whenever I think about something being to hard or difficult, I just think about my mother’s story and keep it moving…