Mother’s Day 2012: A Letter To My Mom

It’s Mother’s Day again… don’t act so surprised, I mean, it does come every single year in May. Last year, I was talking about Mother’s Day and how I was struggling with my sister’s birthday coming up and how my husband always acted like “my” days didn’t matter.

This year is different, even though May 13th is Mother’s Day and would have been Jess’s 35th birthday. So before I get into the mom stuff, let’s have a moment of silence for my sister.

Happy birthday Jess! You will never be forgotten. I love you & miss you so much!

When I started writing this post my brain took me on a wild journey that could have left me stranded in the abyss of negativeness and uncontrollable rage. But, I decided I would save that trip for another time, a time when I wasn’t trying to write a dedication post. So instead of writing about how having two “moms” on Mother’s Day meant to me, I have chosen to write about just my biological mom… and quite frankly the ONLY MOM I have. (Another time I will elaborate but, today this post will remain free of that…)

My mom got pregnant at age 17, she gave birth to me 1 month and 5 days after her 18th birthday. She delivered me in McLaren Hospital in Flint, Michigan on July 17th, 1975. My father, who she had just married on Valentine’s Day of that very year was nowhere to be found. I exaggerate because he could have been found but, needless to say nobody cared enough to drag his sorry ass to the hospital so he could do his husbandly/fatherly duty. (I know I said I wouldn’t mention them but, that part was extremely important. It shows how brave my mother was.)

I have heard countless times about my birth from my mom… Don’t all children? I was breach, “You had your little feet on both sides and you refused to come out.” And now you all know when and where my stick-it-to-the-man never back down attitude started. There are many things over the years my mom has told me about the first 5 years I lived with her. There are even more stories that were passed on to me by people who think that I don’t remember. For some reason they act like I didn’t witness it for myself. Those people and their stories are irrelevant at this time.

Now I can’t sit here and lie to you all and tell you that I have loads of fond mother/daughter memories as a child and teen, because I don’t. I can’t tell you that I didn’t have my fair share of issues growing up without my mom in my daily life. My mom wasn’t perfect… no human being is. My mom often tells me, “I know I will never be mother of the year.” I always laughed that comment off. I thought it was silly that mom thought like that, because I have never cared one way or another. I figured that once someone apologized and you forgave them then it was done and from that point on it was no longer an issue. Maybe it wasn’t for me that she was saying it.

But, now I am going to award her. I am going to give her something that is better than Mother of the Year. Because she deserves more than a title that comes and goes every year and here is why…

My mother did the best she could with what she had. She made mistakes. She didn’t always say or do the right thing. She made choices that weren’t the best. But…

  • She NEVER abused us. There was no emotional blackmail, no beatings, no psychological terrorism laid upon us by her whatsoever.
  • She ALWAYS loved us unconditionally.
  • She worried and fretted and if at any time one of her kids were not speaking to her she would ask about them to the ones that were. (In other words, she’d always ask me.)
  • She APOLOGIZED for all the things she did or didn’t do.
  • She NEVER repeatedly did those things after apologizing. (That is something many do not do.) When she said sorry she meant it.
  • She NEVER did to us what was done to her.
  • She lost a grown child who wasn’t speaking to her and lives with the guilt from that. (Even though she shouldn’t torture herself over things she had no control over.)
  • She went back to school, taking college courses at age 55.
  • She is the ONLY person helping to care for her 77-yr-old mother and her 79-yr-old step-father.
  • She has 7 grand-kids, 2 that she has never met or been allowed to know. (Jess’s older daughters) 2 that are just starting to open up to her. (Jess’s twin boys) All 7 living in other states away from her. Yet she holds out faith of one day having all of them close by in her life and loves each and every single one of them with her heart and soul.
  • She’s not fake… She doesn’t smile in your face and at the same time try to turn people against you behind your back.
  • No matter who tried to stand in her way she never stopped being who she is.
  • She wakes up every day, goes out and gives the world her all.

Plain and simply put… She is my best friend, I love her, and I am blessed to call her mom!!!

Dear Mom,
Happy Mother’s Day. I love you more than you probably even know.
Words; even from someone as prolific as I am, just cannot express the
love that I have for you. I don’t need for you to be anything that you aren’t,
I never did. You and I know the truth of our relationship. We both know what
we went through. You have given me more than any one ever could by just you being you. You don’t ask me to be anyone or anything that I am not. You don’t
try to change me. You’re not embarrassed (yet… lol) by me. I know that you
love me and the kids and even Gustavo. I couldn’t have asked for a better mother. I don’t feel the need to punish you for the past, we have long since moved on
from all that bullshit. 
I am who I am today partly because of you. Nobody in
the world can ever take that from you no matter how much they think they can, they can not! I am proud of all you have accomplished and what you will do. I am honored that you have allowed me to be included in all that
you do. I am proud to be your daughter. I am proud of all that you are and all
that you aren’t. Simply stated… I AM PROUD OF YOU!!! I wish I could be there to say this all in person and hug you tightly. But, that just isn’t in the cards right now so…
May you have the
happiest of days today and every day.
And never ever ever forget that
I LOVE YOU!!!

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A Merry Kenia Christmas

Google Image

Sunday I went to Cardinal Glennon Hospital to visit my niece, Kenia. She is my husband’s cousin’s daughter, which doesn’t make her my niece in American culture but, her mother has the same last name as my husband. (Their parents are siblings on both sides.) That makes them more like siblings than cousins. I realize it’s a bit confusing; she is nonetheless to me, my niece.

I have known Kenia since she was a tiny baby. I first met her and her family when they were living in Las Vegas for a short time in 1997. Kenia has Crouzon’s Snydrome. Her skull fused together prematurely causing abnormal development of the eye sockets and mid-face.

I didn’t become reacquainted with Kenia and her family until I moved to Chicago in 2001. Kenia and her older brother played with my kids like all little cousins do. They all got along really well. My children, like me, see a person’s inner self. Unconditional love truly is blind.

Kenia attends the school for the blind, because of the Crouzon’s Syndrome, her eyesight is very bad. Over the years, Kenia has had major surgery several times to make space for her growing brain. She recently had another surgery in August of this year. Friday, Kenia was admitted to the hospital because of an infection that she contracted while at school.

It is difficult to fight illness this time of year and even more so when you have a brace attached to your head and face and are around other children who may or may not be carrying a simple cold virus.

Kenia’s mother hasn’t worked since the surgery in August. She took a significant reduction in income so that she could be with her daughter. What parent wouldn’t do the same thing?

December 23, one day before their family celebrates Noche Buena, (Christmas Eve) Kenia will be undergoing surgery again, to remove the last bit of equipment from her August operation. This is when the doctors will find out whether the surgery went well and if her skull will hold its new shape. If the surgery didn’t go well, her skull will collapse, crushing her brain and killing her. Kenia will be 15 years old next January. She is scheduled for another surgery next year.

Many times this month, you have seen me say how important it is to give to those less fortunate. In fact, if you’ve been a reader since the beginning, you know I speak about it often. We live in a society where it’s all about, “ME”. People going into debt at Christmas to spoil already spoiled children. Children asking for more and more every year, even when they have too much already. People buying cars that are beyond their means and paychecks. Where does it end? There is nothing wrong in wanting to have nice things; after all you work hard for them, right?

But, what about those who are in need? What about the family who spends their holiday in a hospital room praying for a full recovery? What about the child who hopes to be with her family for Christmas? A child who has asked Santa for her health.

No, Kenia doesn’t believe in Santa but, Kenia and her family wants those things just the same. My husband, children, and I are doing what we can to make sure Kenia has a great Christmas this year. Despite the financial difficulties we also have faced these last three years. If we have to forgo our own Christmas celebrations and sit in a hospital room to make her Christmas special, we will. Because it is the season to give and it won’t feel like Christmas without her.

Many people will throw in a couple of dollars or a handful of coins into a kettle for a stranger to have a Merry Christmas, how about doing the same for my niece? If you’d like to contribute to Kenia’s Merry Christmas you can contact me directly or use the donation button on my blog’s sidebar. All donations ‘For Jens Sake’ receives in December will go directly to Kenia’s Christmas gifts. Thank you all for being loyal readers and may you all spread the joy and magic of Christmas to everyone.

Kenia with her older brother, younger sister, mother in Sept. 2011

This is a rare photo of Kenia since her surgery, she didn’t want to be photographed while wearing the brace.