We are products of our past (good, bad or indifferent). How we allow events that happened in our lives to shape us depends solely on our choices.
In light of Mother’s Day, I would like to talk about some women who have helped shape me into the person I am today. I made no conscious choice to put these people in any particular order. As far as subconsciously, I can only guess.
I mention her often in my posts. She’s my rock, my comfort, my best friend. If you have met her, you’ll have no trouble agreeing with me that she’s the most kind and caring person you’ll ever meet. Maybe in the top three if you know others like her. But I’ve been hard-pressed to meet someone who’s just as great as she is.
Lacey isn’t perfect, but she is perfect for me and my sons. I make sure the boys understand and appreciate all that she does to make our lives better. From fixing lunches, to volunteering at their schools, to being a comforting mother hen (and sometimes a fierce mother bear if the situation calls for it).
She has influenced me for more than half my life. She’s my superhero. My dream come true. She has the greatest amount of my respect. I am a better man, husband, father, person because of her.
I feel like I owe her so much. And so I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to catch up to her.
My aunt Kathy
Kathy is my favorite aunt. She’s the top among twelve aunts I have on both sides of my family. She cares deeply about her children and grandbabies. I wouldn’t be surprised if her oldest grandchild (who’s in his early twenties) still called her “grandmommy.”
Kathy loves and supports me unconditionally. Like I was one of her own sons. She does the same for my brothers. I can call her to vent, to share happy news, to just talk.
I know I mentioned previously that she’s caused me pain, but mom did her best, in many ways, while she was here.
When I think back on my childhood, I realized there was a turning point in her life. It was around the time I was 6. Her and my step-dad were drinking and fighting. It seemed to happen on a nightly basis. I have a theory on the exact event that caused her to want to change, but it’s kind of irrelevant to all of this.
It seemed like an overnight change. She stopped drinking. She quit working at the bar down the road. She got us into church. For as much disdain I have for church now, I know that her taking us as kids was one of the best things for us. She clung to church as both a way to atone for her past and to teach us how to be decent men.
She plays a minimal role in my life now, but I recognize she did try to raise her sons right.
Some men seem to have rocky relationships with their mothers-in-law. Mine is far from that. Debbie has overcome so much pain and loss in her life but she is still a generous, caring woman. She’s always supportive of Lacey and me, and she loves her grandsons (and great-granddaughter) without condition.
Debbie is frank and wise. That’s what happens when you own a bar and have to put up with certain clientele. She’s never been afraid to speak her mind when she felt the need.
She has supported and helped Lacey and I in countless ways throughout our marriage. Even before we were married, in fact. It’s only natural she’s a superhero. After all, she did give birth to one.
My grandmother on my dad’s side was one of the best singers and organ players I’ve ever known. It’s been years, decades even, since I’ve heard her, but I remember her performing at church with my aunts and cousins.
Gail loved words. When I reconnected with her (and that side of the family) as an adult, we went up to visit a few times before she passed away. I would make sure to leave the crossword puzzle for her when I’d read the morning paper.
One time, we were watching the Royals play on TV and she said she didn’t want to watch it. Dad or grandpa suggested she read the dictionary if she was bored. And dammit, if she didn’t pick up that huge Webster’s Dictionary and pick a letter and read through it. Maybe she was just being ornery. I remember Grandma Gail had an onerey streak.
I enjoyed playing cards and board games with her. And putting together jigsaw puzzles.
Aunt Gay Lynn
I don’t remember a specific event in my past that made me love aunt Gay Lynn. I just remember her being warm and kind to me. She’s the same way to my boys when we visit.
She’d go to the store and buy snacks, drinks and a few things for them to play with. Sometimes it was coloring books and crayons. Other times, it was bouncy balls and stuff like that.
My mom’s mom is the only living grandparent I have left. I keep telling myself I need to make some time to see her while I can.
Grandma Upton loves animals. I never visited without seeing at least one or two dogs, maybe a cat, even some birds. Her and grandpa raised miniature horses for a long time before grandpa passed away.
The common thread
There’s something these women have in common: love. They show it, and give it, seemingly without effort.
I believe in the power of love. It spans time and space.
I owe a great debt to the women in my life who have shaped me into a better person. The only way I can adequately repay them is to follow their examples and love others in the same way they loved me.