Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Mom

Mom and me, 4 days old

It's Mother's Day, and several writer friends have commented on their relationships with their mothers, so I thought I'd look at mine.

We never had any 'issues', ours was never a challenging relationship, and mostly because I was too afraid to cause any problems. Sure, we had our disagreements, and one day I was so mad at her, I went and kicked the fence so hard I bruised a bone in my foot.  After limping for a day or two, I remember feeling embarrassed to tell her not only what I did, but mostly why I did it. But, I told her and she took me to the doctor and that was that.

Mom, you taught me it was okay to be angry at someone I love, that it doesn't mean the love fades.

My mother grew up in a time where women had few choices. It was her father's desire she go to college. But, she never did go. It was her desire to be a mother. She married my father almost immediately after finishing high school.  I followed a couple of years later, my brother a few years after that and she was happy caring for her family. But, the happiness soon ended and when she later married my stepfather and gave him a son, again she chose to stay home and take care of her family. And she was happy. She was a 'room mother' at school for the three of us, alternating each year to show her love equally. And while she was very involved in our lives, she gave us the freedom to be ourselves.

Mom, you taught me to follow your dreams in spite of what others may dream for you.

While our life was far from perfect as my stepfather was constantly relocating for better jobs, my mother did all she could to make each house a home. I have very fond memories of the eleven homes I remember. 

Mom, you taught me any house can be a home.

My mom had the courage to end two marriages when she was no longer happy in them. She has become very self-sufficient since divorcing my stepfather in 1994 and I remember her calling me one day, ecstatic that she had assembled a bed for her guest room all by herself! Way to go, mom! Once my youngest brother left home for the Navy, she was tired of being home doing nothing but crocheting, so she got her real estate license and began earning her own money which my stepfather perceived as a threat to his masculinity and sense of control. Plus, they would be paying more taxes. He wanted her to quit. But, she persevered.

Mom, you taught me I am stronger than I realize.

Mom and her mother, Georgia 1981~ I sent that tree as a Christmas gift
We have had a very close relationship. My grandparents would often take little week long trips up and down the California coast in the summer. When we lived near them in Sacramento, I would often house-sit for them. I would call my mother every day and just chat, something we rarely did when I was home. (Mostly then, I was busy with school work and other stuff, plus my stepfather and brothers were usually around.)

Mom, you taught me to stay in touch with those you love.

As with many mothers of gay children, she felt somehow responsible for my being gay, it was somehow her fault. After reassuring her it wasn't, and pointing her in the direction of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), she called the local contact person, as she wanted to understand. We have grown even closer since then. She was distraught at the death of her son-in-law, my first partner; she was very disappointed she couldn't make it to my wedding to my second partner; and she was aching for me when he asked for the divorce. She was also there to pick up the pieces after this last heartache.

Mom, you taught me about unconditional love.

After her second divorce, she bought her own house and made it her home. She gave up real estate several years ago as the hours became too much for her, and she later became a part-time checker at a grocery store.  After suffering a terrible third degree burn on her legs and feet a few years ago, she recuperated nicely and eventually returned to work.

Mom, you taught me how to be a survivor.

Georgia, 2003
Mom, you have taught me many things in life, but most of all, you taught me to be me. I love you.


  1. Beautiful! Love the insight into your mom AND you. Your readers can see so many wonderful traits she has passed to you. Great blog!

    1. Thank you! I've always known we shared a lot I just wasn't sure how much.

      Thanks for your comment!

  2. A beautiful day to pause, reflect, and honor the women we call "Mom." Thank you, Jeff for your always insightful, thought provoking, and candid reflections. Your mother is a most fortunate woman!

    1. Thank you, Evie. It's always nice to hear from you. I also feel fortunate to have her in my life.

  3. That was a wonderful homage to your mom! I wish my mom would check PFLAG out!

    1. Thank you! I have come to accept that all things happen in time. Perhaps, she will.