I no longer rush around to find just the right Mother's Day gift. My mother thrived with breast cancer for 32 years and made her transition over seven (7) years ago. But with each passing mother's day, I realize that she left me with 5 wonderful gifts that make me the woman that I am today:
1) A Perfect Pink room: A room with a pink princess phone -- remember those -- and a canopy bed with matching pink and lace bedding. A room with a book shelf that extended the wall that was built by my father and contained hundreds of books. A place of peace and solitude where I was free to use my imagination and to just be me. Strangely, my favorite past-time was lining up rollers in an imaginary city. Even then, I knew it was weird, but, I believe, it was the first signs of the creative mind I would eventually unleash when I gained the courage. And to this day, I'm oh so happy to be in my very own room, at home and happy, dreaming and writing and floating through a day in solitude. In my very own perfect pink room!
2) Acceptance: I'm one of the lucky ones. My mother loved me with every fiber of her being. She told me how much she loved me, and showed me how perfect she thought I was. She gave me everything I asked for, although, I'm sure, child specialists don't recommend this. But because of this, I never felt pressure to make others like me, as I understood that no one could love me more than my mother. I was what I was! So as they lowered her casket into the ground, I screamed, "No one will ever love me like you do." Afterwards I felt sorry for my poor hubby who had to endure my public spectacle of placing him second to my Mom. The negative side of being filled with so much love was that I had the martyr, Pollyanna complex and was always trying to fix others with the love bubbling inside of me, whether they were deserving or not. My husband repeats to me all the time, "You can not save the world." At fifty something, I'm, finally, over it, but too often in my teenage and early adult years, I aligned myself with undesirables in an attempt to show them and the world how great they were and how much they were loved. Even my desire to share here in this blog comes from a place of wanting to love others through the written word. Her love is still bubbling inside of me.
3) Compassion: My earliest memories of my mother working were as a Social Worker and her bringing home emotionally disturbed kids to share a meal. I remember one time in particular when she brought home a client, a little girl about my age, whose parents were alcoholics and abusive. The visit went fine until it was time for the little girl to return home, and we realized that she had decided to stay in my pink room instead. So we chased her around the house and wrestled her into the car. But once folded into the back seat, she hopped out of my mother's moving 1965 Comic, Mercury, the one with the wings, that we eventually drove up north when my mother decided that she wanted to get a Ph.D rather than help emotionally disturbed kids. But as fate would have it, my mother's PhD program would require that she work at a camp for emotionally disturbed boys every summer. And during that first summer session after an emotionally disturbed camper jumped out the canoe that my Mom was steering, I made a bee-line back to the south to stay with Bigmama each summer. It would take decades for me to understand that the greatest joy comes from helping others, especially those in need -- homeless people, disabled young adults, and others who really need support, like the kids that I taught for five (5) years near Watts in one of Los Angeles Unified's toughest schools. My mother was my first example of a woman with a compassionate heart.
4) An "I Can" Attitude: She believed in herself, even though she was from a meager, impoverished background, and that's why she piled us in that Comic Mercury and headed north to get her Ph.D. That's why when we arrived and the university housing that was promised was not available, she moved us in a vacant room with a shared bathroom in a creepy looking house over-looking the University's football field instead of returning to her family in the south. That's why after being fired and locked out of her office as Superintendent of Schools of a southern California school district, she rested, and the next gig was bigger and better: Director of of Military Schools, first in Germany and then in London. That's why she didn't succumb to cancer when I was 12. But instead allowed doctors to cut on her, both breasts and part of her thyroid were removed, feed her with Chemo Therapy, scorch her body with Radiation, and prescribe every pill imaginable for 32 years so that she could overcome cancer and live. She always believed in my hopes and dreams also, whether they made sense or not. She encouraged me to write and wrote several chapters of my first novel, On Edge, as we drove the country side of England visiting schools that were in her district. And so I am a rebel who is not afraid to try new things. Start a blog, of course I can. Write 2 novels, no problem. Write and produce a play, a piece of cake. Raise three sons, they will never break a bone and grow to do great things. Get two new puppies when I should be kicking everyone out the house, sure, let's do this. Thanks, Mom, by the time I see you again in heaven, I will be worn out!
5) Sunshine: My mother never walked into a room that she didn't light up with her stories and laughter. And that's why at the end of the evening at my annual "Carry On" party that I have to honor her, I talk everyone to the sidewalk, then lean my head in their cars as they try to roll up their windows on me. After the last guest is finally able to break away, I chuckle because I know it's my Mom's sunshine beaming through me. I'm more of a loner than gregarious. But I was her little girl and all that sunshine beaming down on me warmed my heart, so sometimes I just have to chat it up. Yet, I was content all of my childhood and good part of my adult life to just bask in her sunny shadow until God gave me my very on SHOUT (see signature tag below) in the form of books, the play, and whatever else form it takes. And although I have my sad days and moments of depression -- I'm human folks and a writer, for God's sake -- the darkness does not last for long because I'm Dr. Georgia Mae's daughter! And that's why I celebrate Mother's Day every single day of my life!
I'd love to hear about the 5 things your mother gave you that make you the woman or man that you are today.
Still bubbling with Georgia Mae's Love,
PS: Stay Inspired and always:
Shine God's light
Use God's Power &