My mother was born 100 years ago today. She has been dead for 43 years. I can remember the way she laughed. I remember the way she pronounced some words – she had that Pittsburgh, PA dialect – I can spot it anywhere. Unfortunately, I can remember the way she coughed. She was a heavy smoker, Pall Malls, unfiltered. Constantly. She died of cancer at the age of 57.
I was a last child, the youngest of five. Separated by 7 years from my closest sibling. I think my parents were much too tired to have another child. They were obsessed with my older brother’s behavior, I felt that I was just a bother to them. I learned to fly under the radar. For all the trouble I got into when I was a teen, they knew only a small fraction of it. I never shared anything with them unless I was forced to.
The sad part about this is that I am now 62 years old and my natural inclination is still to try to fly under the radar. I still don’t want to bother anyone. I keep to myself. I was a horrible mother, I didn’t know how to be close to my children. Thank God THEY think I was fine, even good, as a mother, but I don’t remember it that way. I wish I could go back in time and just kiss and hug and spoil them. I love them all so very much. The good thing is, they know that.
And today is my beautiful first granddaughter’s 14th birthday. She is beginning to show those first signs of a troubled teenager. But I can always find a way to find the cloud in the silver lining. She is a beautiful, smart, funny, charming girl. She was excited that I am knitting her a birthday present. And my daughter who is not their mother is taking she and her sister to California for a week to celebrate the birthday and spring break. Nice.
Maybe we can get better through the generations. I am certain I was a better mother than my mother was. My daughter maybe not so much. But their children have had their aunt, their mother’s twin sister, to care for them, and SHE is a good mother.
Happy St. Joseph’s Day.