Friday, May 21, 2010
A Mother's Influence
I'm a mom....some people don't know that about me when they first meet me but when you look at my gray hair, the bags under my eyes and the 4 little people following me around calling me "Mom".....then people get that knowing look in their eyes that says 'Oh...that explains a lot!' (ha-ha!). But before I even considered being a mom there were women in my life that built a path for me that to this day I still follow. My step mother, Ronie, is left handed, and I do so many things that left handed people do I'm usually thought to be ambidextrous. She was a very strict disciplinarian and didn't play when it came to the expectations she had of my brother and me. Ms. Hines in room 9, she taught at Clifton Springs Elementary across from Gresham Park. She was so elegant in her high heels that as soon as I was able to get a pair (hence the several sprain ankles in my youth "borrowing" Ronie's heels while she was at work!) I was hooked! But there is one woman in particular that has had such an impact on my life. I was lucky enough during my senior year in high school to be approached by an organization called Youth for Understanding, they were an exchange program. And I was offered an opportunity to go overseas for a year to live with a family that I knew nothing about. I didn't know the language, I didn't know the customs....hell in the beginning I couldn't even tell you where on a globe it was located. But it was the best time of my life. I lived with an awesome family and to this day I still refer to my parents as Mamma and Pappa....even though I first arrived in 1984. Mamma was this tiny little grey haired elementary school teacher that spoke English with what sounded to me like a British accent. Cute and adorable are easy words that come to mind when describing her. She was a great helper in her community, helping immigrants that arrived that needed assistance, an avid church goer and loved to no end by everyone......I don't think she has a mean bone in her body. The most she did was to call you by your full name if you were in trouble.....Pappa's full name was called a lot!! She is graceful, athletic and one of the dearest people I know. I have tried all my life to be just like her....and I hope I have done her training justice. Recently I found out that she has inoperable lung cancer.....and this woman has never smoked a day in her life. She's dying and there is nothing they can do about it.....other than to make her comfortable. In the coming weeks I have to go and say goodbye and it is the hardest things I have ever had to do, I have never had anyone close to me die. I love this woman as if she gave birth to me.....she is my mother, and my children refer to her as "Mormor" which is grandmother in Swedish. I'm not sure what to say to her, not sure how to act. But she is classy and graceful so I know she will teach me what to say and how to act......just by being the wonderful person that she is. I hope I can embrace life and my ultimate death half as gracefully as she does. Jag alsker dig Mamma.