Today is Mother's Day in the United States.
I hope you had a mother, a mother in law, or a special "mother-someone" to spend the day with.
I had to travel this weekend, and on the way back, my spouse, son and I drove through Delaware County in New York State. I had been thinking a lot about my childhood recently, and memories immediately flooded my mind.
When World War II came, the life of a woman living in Germany would change forever, along with those of millions of other people. After surviving the Holocaust, she moved to the United States, married another Holocaust survivor and had three children with him. One of those children became a very good friend. Their marriage would last 57 years.
The best revenge, sometimes, is survival, and making a difference in the lives of the next generations.
The 70th anniversary of the death of the man who set these events in motion passed last month. He died in secret, taking his own life. In contrast, when this woman died several years ago, she was 94 years old, and left three children , six grandchildren, and a remarkable legacy.
Her obituary said in part: "She will be missed
terribly and although her own feet were very small, she leaves behind
shoes so large, they are impossible to fill."
Obituaries don't begin to tell a story. In her life's story, besides her family, was a 13 year old girl whose mother had recently died. This girl probably drove her crazy in some ways, but the girl was always welcome in her home. She taught the girl to do some household tasks. She gave love and attention.
Later, as an older teenager, she invited me to her father's home in Delaware County. It was in a rural location, on an unpaved road. They were the last house on the road with electricity.
There, this girl who grew up in the Bronx walked through her first garden ever. She got sick from eating raw, fresh peas, because she didn't know any better. Then she got sick off their fresh blueberries, because they were so good she couldn't stop eating them. But amazingly, she got invited back for a week the following summer.
Yes, you've guessed it. That girl was me.
I had several substitute mothers in my life after my mother's sudden death. My father, who raised me. The woman I am blogging about today. And, in some ways, my friend, her daughter. She has been a good friend to many.
My friend, as I blog this, is seriously ill. This is a hard time for her family.
Mothers aren't only the people who birth us. I hope that, if you have such a person in your life - either male or female, who was a mother to you - that you think of them today. If they are alive, I hope you called, texted, or emailed them, or thought of them.
My son, whose basket is pictured above, only met this woman twice, and probably has no memories of her. But, in my mother in law's house, hangs a picture of my son taken at the home of this remarkable woman.
Without her, my life would have been different, and probably poorer.
Do you have a special someone whom you would wish a Happy Mothers Day?