I love you.
I know I don't say & demonstrate it often enough or always accompany it with a big bear hug. I feel bad about that.
You have been my rock for over half a century.
You brought me into this crazy world we live in and provided unquestioning love and nurturance. At 18 months you saved my life by calling a surgeon you didn't know at 2:30 a.m. propelling him to the hospital. Immediately upon my arrival, he performed an emergency tracheotomy. The hospital didn't have a surgeon on duty. I would have died if not for your take charge can-do attitude.
Mom, you taught me right from wrong. When I was little, it was by instruction. As an adolescent and adult, by modeling.
Your individualism, strength of character, forthrightness, willingness to fight the system and especially your independence informed the man I am today.
During the earliest years, you insisted on having me tested because of my learning difficulties. My self-image was plummeting. This was the mid 1950's, when most parents were in denial of the term "learning disability." You wanted answers and solutions. You got them.
As an elementary student, you were my advocate. You fought my rigid third grade teacher who dictated all tests. I knew the answers, but couldn't write fast enough to record them. My grades were falling and frustration with school was burgeoning. You explored accommodation for my pokey handwriting.
Completing fourth grade, I was slated to have a fifth-grade teacher known for terrorizing students. Aware of my emotional fragility, you fought school administration resistance, insisting I be assigned another teacher. I was. She was wonderful and school began to turn around for me.
I remember all this. Not only was it a demonstration of your love, but what a woman of substance could accomplish when she set her mind to it.
When I was born you had completed only one year of college and were raising my older brother. Eight years later, my sister burst on the scene. You now had three children at home. My Dad, a brilliant research scientist, worked 12 to 14 hours a day. He was a great father, but his time was limited.
You had a full plate, yet made time to sell World Book Encyclopedias door to door earning a bit of extra cash, ensuring your daughter would have 15 volumes of Childcraft The How & Why Library. You went to work for a businessman, then bought out his tiny company and worked it until you had to fold because of finances.
You created and wrote a shopping column for the local newspaper, "Shopping Around with Ruth." You had to get the advertisers and write the weekly column.
It was then I imagine you had an epiphany. You saw the direction your life was headed and projected 15 or so years out. The prospect wasn't pleasing.
At 38 you went back to college earning a teaching degree while raising all three children, the two boys about the sloppiest I've ever known. You cooked, cleaned, advocated, worked actively in The League of Women Voters and went to every important school event.