Friday, May 9, 2014

Rant #1,204: Six Mothers

First off, today is the 44th anniversary of my bar mitzvah.

It doesn't seem possible, but all the way back in 1970, I became a man, at least by the laws of the Jewish religion.

It seems like a lifetime ago, and in fact, it was.

Next, this weekend is Mother's Day, the second holiest day of the year next to Father's Day, of course.

My family plans a big celebration. We are having a load of family over to our house, and we will be having a Chinese food feast. It should be fun.

Three of the mothers I am going to tell you about will be there, and are alive and well.

Three, sadly, won't be there, but they will certainly be there in spirit and remembered for who they were and the influence that they had on me and the rest of our family.

And in describing each one of these women, I am talking about the wonder of motherhood, and how, let's face it, if it weren't for moms, none of us would be here, figuratively, literally, or otherwise.

My maternal grandmother was a great woman who was a constant presence in my life until the day she died. Even though we lived many miles away--especially when we moved to Long Island--my grandmother was always there for me, always around, and if she taught me one thing, it was to stand up for your rights, to open up your mouth when necessary, and to speak your mind.

She loved to dance, but had a literally great fall, and could not dance again. My grandfather passed away, and she did not have a companion. But that never stopped her. She would hobble, barely be able to walk, but she seemed to live for my sister and I. Even in her dying days, we seemed to come first.

She was really a great grandmother, and I miss my Grandma Betty to this day.

My paternal grandmother brought the "old world" into my life. She wasn't born in this country, and she came here under interesting circumstances. One could say that she lived a hard life from the day she was born. As a child, she somehow was raised in a monastery, where they tried to convert her away from Judaism. She refused, because she knew what she was.

When she was older, she came to America, somehow met up with my grandfather, and they settled down together to live a new life in America, start their own business, and raise a family. But she never settled down, really. My grandfather, from what I understand, could be a brute in many ways, and my grandmother often suffered at his hands. But to me, as a grandmother, she always had a smile that would light up a room. No matter what was bothering her, when my sister and I came into the room, nothing else seemed to matter.

She made us No. 1, and to her dying days, she never forgot that she was our grandmother. And yes, I miss my Grandma Harriet, too.

My mom is the perfect mother and grandmother. I don't know any other way to say it. She is always there for all of us. She never wavers, and while I don't always agree with everything my mother does, she is undoubtedly the best mother I could have. I am a lucky guy.

She is there in times of pain and stress, and in times of celebration. I look up to my mother for inspiration, and I get that and more from her, and from my father, for that matter. They are both now in their 80s, but they run around so much that they put people a third of their age to shame.

Where would I be without my mother? Nowhere, simply nowhere.

My sister has learned well from our mother. She is the proverbial "supermom,:" who is a wife, has a career, and watches over her three sons like a hawk. I can tell you that from my standpoint, she can make you crazy, but she absolutely adores her children, sometimes to a fault.

I think my sister learned well from not only my mother, but our grandmothers, too. She worries about her brood, and will stand up for them when necessary. She will also take a stand when necessary, too, and that sometimes irks us, but let me tell you, she generally knows what she is doing.

My wife is undoubtedly the most important woman in my life. She is my companion, friend, wife and the mother of my son. To me, she is most beautiful woman in the world, and when I tell her that, I really do mean it. I have to say that every day that we have been together, I consider myself the luckiest man alive. She is so important to me in so many ways that it is hard to quantify them all here. Like my sister, she is the proverbial "supermom," doing so many things at once that she seems to be in constant motion.

She dotes after our son, and will stand up for him when necessary, but she will also let him know how she feels when it is necessary. I am sure she gets a lot of her spunk from her own mother, who is deceased. But wherever it comes from, it is there, and I really love her for it, and I think in the end, my son appreciates it, too.

So there is my profile of the five major women in my life, both past, present and future. My wife's mom died right after we were married, and she had been ill for some time. I never really got to know her well, but from what little contact I did have with her, she seemed to be a real loving person and a great mom too.

That is one of my regrets, that I never really got to know her. But my son and I have gotten to know her through my wife and her two brothers, who always talk about her in a positive way, as they should. They loved their mom, and through the stories, my son and I do too.

Happy Mother's Day to all, and I will speak to you again on Monday.

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