Today my Mother celebrates her retirement. She lives 4 hours away and I cannot be there. So here are my thoughts on this day.
A few years ago I told my Mother “the older I get, the less stupid you become”. She looked at me funny. I don’t think she quite understood what I meant by that. I think I hurt her feelings, which was not my intent. I certainly have never thought of my Mother as stupid. Quite the contrary. I’ve always thought my Mother to be a highly intelligent woman.
At the age of 35 my Mother found herself widowed with 4 children under the age of 14. Being children, we were selfish. Of course we had no clue what she was going through, nor did we attempt to try. We were used to being the center of our parents’ world. We leaned on our parents for support. My Mother and Father were used to leaning on each other for support. And then he was no longer there. Now when I look back, I am amazed. My Mother has always been a very strong woman, but I can’t even imagine going through what she endured and lives to tell the tale.
We were not horrible children, but I know we were pretty rotten to her the majority of the time. As she was trying to digest the loss of her husband and raise 4 kids on her own, we were busy being kids and not understanding the major curve ball that life had thrown her way.
Through all of this, my Mother continued to do as she had always done. She got up every morning and she went to work. I have never known my Mother not to have a job. I have never known my Mother to give less than 120% in her work. Some jobs she loved. Some she hated. But she always gave her all. Her work ethic is stronger than anyone I have ever known.
My comment to my Mother was in regard to what I learned by watching her through the tough times growing up. She didn’t know it then, just as I didn’t know it then, but she was teaching me many valuable life lessons.
As I hit certain points in my life, I can look back and have those “ah ha” moments and I am humbled and can understand.
Marriage, the birth of my son, worrying about health and money, trying to have a life of my own, trying to be successful in a job. All of these things my Mother has experienced. Now I can understand some of the things she went through and with every “ah ha” moment, my respect and gratitude for her grows even deeper.
My brothers, sister and I thankfully didn’t turn out to be murderers or knocking over liquor stores, but we didn’t always follow the right path in life. Sometimes we would start down a good path, just to take a bad turn, for whatever reason. But my Mother was always there for us. Her love never waivered.
In the end, I think we turned out ok. My older brother is an OSHA Manager. My younger sister is a Medical Assistant. My younger brother is an AutoCAD Operator, and I am an IT Security Analyst. All of us…get up in the morning and we go to work. From what I can tell, we all give 120% in our jobs. We do our best when we love it. We do our best when we hate it. And there is only one place we could have learned such a work ethic. And that would be from our Mother.
Although we joke wondering what she will do with herself not working her usual 60 hour weeks, on this day of celebrating my Mothers retirement, I can think of no one on this earth that deserves to sit back, relax, and enjoy life more than my Mom.