The Meaning Of Family
My mother’s family wasn’t rich by any standard. They were frugal people who lived simply and paid their bills regularly. The world was cash, no checks or credit cards then. In the Depression Years, it was especially hard. When things got tough, family was what mattered. Mother, father, brothers, sisters was the one resource from which the poor drew their strength.
Back in 1939 my mother’s life hit its low. That February 11, her eleven year old little boy died a useless death. The day he was to come home from the hospital (no phone in the house back then), someone came to the door bringing news to her that her son was dead–peritonitis following an appendectomy. It changed her forever.
Babcia and Dziadek arranged for the cemetery plot. The uncles paid for the tombstone. The brother I would never know was buried from the house. My mother cried and wrote poems about her loss. She mourned the loss of her first-born son until she herself died some fifty years later. Still life went on.
My father was at a loss too. The family doctor advised, “Give her another baby.” Then my own birth in October, 1942, ?happened. In the years that followed, they sheltered me, doted on me, and protected me fiercely. How they held on! Dad let me be me while Mom stayed on guard. She feared so much….
As I grew up and on, I came to value family more and more. Her family was good family and, what’s more, my family. My memories of visits with them shine out brightly. They helped her in her pain. Helping in joy is just so much easier. Tea time with my grandmother, sitting on grandpa’s lap. doll repair by the uncle who lived with them, magic gifts from another uncle who resided one floor up, are precious moments that money can’t buy.
My Mother and I were very different. There are times that I believe the only thing we shared was stubbornness. Then again, she was a practical woman, as am I. Her family was as important to her as it is to me.
I chose to give my mother’s ring to my son for his bride to be. I hope the meaning of family is as real for them as it is for me. My other children, and their children as well, will have things too. The right moment is never the same for everyone.
I always wanted my own family. I am sure it is because of how I was raised. I love each of my four children. They are my future.
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I wish I had told you more how much I love you. ?Thanks, Mom. ?I know you can hear me. ?Happy Mother’s Day.