ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Story About My Mother

Updated on January 13, 2014

A Tribute to a Wonderful Woman

My mother was born in January, sometime shortly after the second world war in a small town called Okitsu-a quaint seaside town in the city of Shizuoka, known for it's abundant seafood, fresh wasabi and delicious green tea. She was part of a large family which consisted of two sisters and five brothers. Although my grandfather had a business dying kimono fabric, he could barely feed his family. It was right after the war and food was extremely scarce. In those days, rice was especially hard to come by, so my grandmother would combine chopped sweet potatoes into the rice to add additional volume. According to my mother, those were tough times. Yet these were the times when some of her fondest memories were made.

She had always been the "black sheep" of the family. She didn't like doing what she was told and she was incredibly stubborn, determined and more than a bit of a troublemaker.

This is a story about my mother.

*Photos taken by myself unless otherwise noted.

My Mother's Choices

toshiko mine
toshiko mine

My mother told me that she had always been the troublemaker in the family. When she was a child, my mother never liked sharing things with her sisters. As she was the middle girl, she got the hand-me downs from her older sister which annoyed her. She was naturally expected to take care of her younger sister, which simply bored her. She caused her parents lots of anxiety and worry.

One day, full of resentment and a need to be fashionable, she ordered a pair of custom-made shoes without her father's consent. She then started to date my father, a son of a famous Japanese singer of their generation. They fell in love and against my grandparent's wishes, they got married and moved away to the big city of Tokyo.

Shortly thereafter, she had her first child. As you can see in the picture above, I was a chubby little blob of marshmallow. Two years later, my sister came into the world. Although my mother doesn't talk much about this period in her life, she told me enough that hinted of a very distressful time. My father was a notorious playboy and although my mother felt that she could change him, this did not happen. My father gambled during the day and frequented cabarets and bars at night while my mother worked to support her two kids. Shortly thereafter, my father started taking her hard-earned money while she was away at work. He also kept a mistress on the side, paying her rent with my mother's earnings.

She knew this couldn't go on forever and something needed to change. Perhaps she felt that she'd made a mistake. She knew she should have listened to her parents. Whatever the reasons, it was too late. She was here with two kids in tow and a husband who used her money for women and gambling.

There were days when she would walk down the street trying to figure out how she would feed her family. One winter afternoon, as she strolled past vegetable and fruit stands, she swallowed her pride and asked the store owner for food scraps. That afternoon, she made soup out of cabbage scraps. She had no choice. She had to feed her kids.

Months went by with no improvement with her marriage or financial situation. She took me and my sister by the hand and left her husband asking for nothing in return. She knew if she stayed she would go crazy. As she walked away from the apartment, she realized she had nowhere to go and thoughts of doom flashed through her mind. She wanted to kill herself right then and there. She even thought of walking in front of a train to die. It would be quick and easy she thought. How easy it would be to run away from the pain and suffering. But there was something that meant more to her than her own life. It was the life of her two children. This was the crucial moment in her life-the turning point-that made her stronger and more stubborn than she ever had been.

*Photo of my mother and me

Sharing Your Life with Your Loved Ones

Mom, Share Your Life With Me
Mom, Share Your Life With Me

Each page asks a thought-provoking question with space for your own answers. For mothers, this is a good way to record your life and share it with your loved ones.

 

Moving Away to a Foreign Land

Mother in her early 40s
Mother in her early 40s

Persuaded by my uncle ( my father's younger brother ), my mother accepted two one-way tickets bound for Hawaii, where my grandmother ( father's side ) was living. With no English skills, my grandmother found her a job as a bar hostess. After a few months, she used the money she earned to bring my sister over to Hawaii. She worked at the bar while my grandmother took most of my mother's earnings, saying that she was just taking her cut for taking care of the kids while she was at work.

My mother finally got smart. She met a local man and after dating for a few short months, they were married. Then the nightmare really began. Almost immediately after their marriage, he started to violently abuse her night after night. I remember seeing my mother being pinned to the wall with objects such as tables, chairs and beds. Sometimes her nose would bleed and other times she would just scream and cry. My sister and I would cry our lungs out and although it would stop our new father from hitting her, we knew he would continue beating her the next day.

One night I couldn't stand it anymore and I cried at the top of my lungs to make him stop hitting her. He grabbed me by the neck and hit my head against the wall. I lost consciousness. When I woke up, it was all quiet. A month later, they were divorced and the nightmare was over.

*Photo of my mother in 1970's

Hard Times for the Family

My mother with my sister
My mother with my sister

My mother was understandably under a lot of stress-something my sister and I couldn't understand. She started to take her anger and frustration out on her kids. At first she mostly took her anger out on me. After I became too strong for her, she started to take it out on my sister. This was probably the most horrific time for all of us and being confused, both my sister and I started to resent her.

Sometime during the 80's my mother used the money she saved up to buy a bar and start her own business. Fortunately, it did very well and she earned enough to buy a condo just after a few years of hard work. She never took a day off and although she didn't know it at that time, it would take its toll on her health.

By this time though, her children were getting into their own problems. Both her kids attempted suicide but fortunately, they were both unsuccessful. Her son never returned home after that except for the few times he needed something. Deep down inside, my mother was struggling to deal with her life, her problems and the future of her children.

*Photo of my mother and her daughter in December 2013.

Nobody's Perfect

The Mother of All Meltdowns: Real Stories of Moms' Finest (Worst, Completely Awful) Moments
The Mother of All Meltdowns: Real Stories of Moms' Finest (Worst, Completely Awful) Moments

30 stories from different real-life moms tell their story of how it really is. Hilarious and entertaing, this book is a must-read for moms everywhere.

 

Your Mother's Life

Do you think your mother had a difficult life?

See results

Things That We Resented About My Mother

  • Physically abusing us sometimes for no apparent reason.
  • Not celebrating holidays like the other kids.
  • Not being home to cook for us or tuck us into bed.
  • Making us believe that she didn't love us.
  • Never hugging us.
  • Not being there to help us with homework.
  • Not being a normal mother.

How About You?

Do you feel any resentment towards your mother?

See results
mother and son
mother and son

Rebuilding

My mother endured a lot that's for certain. My sister got into drugs and I stopped going to school. I came out to my mother and having a gay son didn't make things easier for her. She had a lot on her plate all the while, trying to keep her business afloat. After many years of non-stop working and intense stress, my mother had a panic attack.At the hospital she was told that she was suffering from high blood pressure and extreme stress. The doctor basically told her that if she didn't change something in her life, she wouldn't be alive to see her grandchildren.

My mother made a decision to sell her business at the age of 55. She had already paid off the mortgage for the condo and had some money saved up to feed herself for awhile. Her son finally started to come home to look after her. She was bedridden for almost an entire year. It was during this time that the healing process began. They all knew they had only each other. They were still family and it wasn't too late to salvage what they had. It was time to let go and learn to forgive. It was not easy but mother, daughter and son all secretly vowed in their hearts to do their best to fix the mess they were in.

*Photo of my mother and son on a trip.

I Love My Mother Because...

  • She had the strength and courage to raise two kids on her own in a foreign country.
  • She made an honest effort in accepting me as gay.
  • She taught her kids good table manners.
  • She cooked, cleaned and ironed for us when she could,even though she was a busy working mother.
  • She spoke to us in Japanese so we would grow up to be bilingual.
  • She has the ability to act completely silly, which never fails to make me smile.
  • She is fair.
  • She treats all my friends with utmost respect.
  • She is pretty awesome.

my mother
my mother

Years after Retirement

It took my mother almost an entire year to recover from her bad health and stress. She was having constant panic attacks and insomnia and until this day, she doesn't go a single day without her pills. Fortunately, her blood pressure got under control and her health dramatically improved through juicing, natural supplements and rest.

Once she recovered and her health stabilized, we traveled the world together-Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Paris and London. I loved taking her on these trips and I felt immense joy from seeing her smile. On the plane returning from Paris, my mother told me a story from her past.

My mother smiled as she remembered, "When I was in my 20's, I went to a fortune teller and I asked her if I would be happy."

"What did the fortuner teller say?" I asked.

"Well, she said that I would have to endure hard times first but happiness will surely come during my later years, Now when I first heard this, I was disappointed because I was still so young when she told me this. But you know what? I think she was right because truth be told, I am very happy now. "

That was one of the best stories she's ever told me.

*Photo of my mother 2010

Your Relationship with Your Mother

Have you ever had a heart-to-heart talk with your mother?

See results

A Better Relationship

Nobody's Baby Now: Reinventing Your Adult Relationship with Your Mother and Father
Nobody's Baby Now: Reinventing Your Adult Relationship with Your Mother and Father

Do you have a hard time talking to your mother? Do you feel like no matter she's never satisfied? No matter how difficult, there are ways to better communication and understanding each other. It's never too late to improve your relationships with your mother or your father.

 

Still Going Strong

my mother
my mother

Most recently, I went to visit my family in December of 2013. My mother was doing well and she looked extremely healthy. She currently lives with my sister in Hawaii and although they are constantly at each other's throats, they are learning how to live under the safe roof. Despite their heated arguments, it's obvious they love each other. My mother is planning a visit to Japan, where she will be staying with me for a month to clean my perpetually messy apartment. She will yell at me and boss me around for the entire time. It's obvious I'm a masochist because I can't wait!

*Photo of my mother in 2007.

What do you remember most about your mother? Please feel free to leave your comments.

Thank You For Reading.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @BestRatedStuff: Thanks so much for your kind words. Cheers!

    • BestRatedStuff profile image

      BestRatedStuff 3 years ago

      A wonderfuly written story, your mother came through and seems to be in that happier place now.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      This was a breathtaking story - it brought tears to my eyes. You described so vividly the sufferings of your family, and your poor mother's desperate situation. I was a single parent too, born about that time, but I had a supportive family - my own parents and my ex's parents were very good to me. Times were hard, I suffered depression, but I did have people to turn to, and lots of love. I'm so glad you became reconciled

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Diana Wenzel: Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I truly appreciate your visits.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @RoadMonkey: Thank you RoadMonkey. Truly appreciate the visit.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @favored: Thanks favored1. It was my pleasure sharing this story.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @TanoCalvenoa: You're so right about that. Thanks for reading.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @SusanDeppner: Thanks so much Susan. I am really looking forward to spending time with my mom this spring.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Titia: Thank you for reading my story Titia.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Charito1962: That is very sad to hear about your relationship with your mother. I know how hard it can be.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Virginia Allain: Thank you so much.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 3 years ago

      Nice lens and what an endearing story! I'm happy that you have come to a place in life to have a wonderful relationship with your mother. I lost my mom when I was young and have missed so much. You certainly should be proud of yourself for enduring the past...but one thing you cannot change is the fact she is your Mother and always be..

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @delia-delia: I am so sorry to hear about your loss. And you're certainly right about my mother. She is and always will be my mother. I am grateful for that. :)

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Zeross4: Thank you Daisy for your thoughtful comments. I know our family has had a very hard time but like you said, each of us has become stronger because of it.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @anonymous: Thank you.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @WriterJanis2: Thanks Janis. I appreciate your visit.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Magpie Feathers: Thank you so much for the thoughful comments. I'm sure it's her life experience that made her hard and cold.

    • caossquidoo profile image

      caossquidoo 3 years ago

      This is a great post! Thank you for sharing such a personal story!

    • chrisilouwho profile image

      chrisilouwho 3 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this, it was so heartfelt, I really enjoyed reading about your life and your relationship with your mother.

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 3 years ago from California

      What an incredible story. I'm glad you all came through it and I hope you are now in a peaceful place.

    • LoriBeninger profile image

      LoriBeninger 3 years ago

      Your story is heartbreaking and hopeful...I admire that you and your sister, despite your horrible experiences, have found in yourself the strength to forgive this beautiful and flawed woman.

      I love the chubby baby picture - and your mother was beautiful.

    • serendipity831 profile image

      Drake McSherry 3 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      I'm working on my relationship with my Mom and relate to some of your struggles. Although My Mom is alright with me being Gay, she still has her days where it gets frustrating. For the most part I'm very lucky and I do Love her, even though she can annoy me at times. I'm sure I'm no angel either. (I know I'm not). I really enjoyed reading about your Mom and I must say if she's born in January, she has to be a pretty great person-I was born in January as well. :) Awesome lens, as always.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 3 years ago

      Now I can understand why you enjoyed my story on reincarnation and spirituality. Your mum sounds a lot like me as I too am a January child and the middle one in the family. Your honesty in telling this story makes me think that you truly are searching for your spiritual link and if you want to email me please do. Nice job and well done lens.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      Family relationships are often our most challenging relationships. I speak from experience. Your family has had a great deal of trial by fire. Now may you know the peace and happiness of living a new season of connectedness. I wish you all the health and joy of coming to a place in life where there is great harmony and contentment. This is a very poignant story. I can appreciate what it took to live it and tell it. Your family is beautiful... you, your sister, and your mother.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      What a great lens. Your mother had some very hard times and I am so glad she has found some peace and happiness in her life now.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      What a beautiful family, and your mom looks great. Your family has been through much, but I am glad to see that forgiveness has won over the situation. Thanks for sharing a bit of your story.

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 3 years ago

      Problems in relationships are so important to resolve. Even if there are a lot of positives, I think the negatives should be worked at and improved as much as possible.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I'm so thankful that you and your mother finally have a good relationship. You are blessed to have been able to spend time traveling with her. No doubt you'll have more to write about after her visit - can't wait to read it!

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 3 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      One never knows how situations inflict on a person's mind. Your mom had a lot of bad things to endure, but also had the strength to change her life. I'm glad all three of you have found a way to cope with each other again. A very moving story and thanks for sharing.

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Honestly, I didn't have a warm relationship with my mother who passed away in August 2000 at the age of 70. To this day, I am still nursing the wounds she inflicted on me during my childhood. Although she was a domineering parent, I must commend her for all the good food she prepared for me and my siblings.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 3 years ago from Central Florida

      It is good that you've rebuilt your relationship with your mother. I hope you have many happy years now.

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 3 years ago from Kentucky

      This is a very emotional, but touching and uplifting tribute. Your family has obviously been through a lot, but it is through our hardships where we find strength and courage. It sounds like you have turned out to be a very strong person. Someone once told me that every hardship I face will make me a stronger person in the end, I have found this to be so true. Thank you for sharing this, I am so glad things worked out the way they did for you!

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      A very nice story.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      How nice of you to honor your Mother this way.

    • Magpie Feathers profile image

      Magpie Feathers 3 years ago

      I've always admired your candor. I think your mom is a very strong woman and the bitterness she showed on you and your sister was most probably a way of venting her pain and her way of protecting you both. Maybe the pain she felt had made her cold at some pint of time. But she is a fortunate woman to have such loving and supporting kids. Stay happy forever!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @ecogranny: Grace, it's always a treat to get a comment from you. My mother refuses to even try to learn computers. She finally got a cell phone. Finally!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @esmonaco: thank you esmonaco. I appreciate your visits.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      My mom is an amazing woman who can do just about anything, except master computers. She says she "can't do tech." : ) She brought our family, and all her children through some very difficult times.

      But I so love how deeply you share with us. Despite all she has endured, your mom remains a beautiful woman, and it seems the healing you all have done has something to do with that. Thank you for sharing this moving story of love and redemption.

    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 3 years ago from Lakewood New York

      I remember my mother as a hard working stay at home mom, who worked hard at providing for the family. As always you have writen such a beautiful story, Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @LornsA178: Thank you so much. You are sweet.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Brite-Ideas: I really appreciate your thoughtful comments. I truly feel grateful how things turned out for my family. I wouldn't change a thing :)

    • LornsA178 profile image

      LornsA178 3 years ago

      I admired your courage to tell about your family's life story, especially the hard times all of you endured. You are a great story teller. What a touching tribute to your mom...

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      I read this entire page, I really found your life story compelling. You know what the beauty of this story is, your family had such a rough time, you've been through a lot and in the end you found peace with each other. Right there is the gift and you can't put a price on that. Some families never get the gift of peace. Congratulations on a beautiful lens and incredible tenacity.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @VinnWong: Thanks Vinn. Your comments mean a lot to me. Hope you're feeling better today!

    • VinnWong profile image

      VinnWong 3 years ago

      Thank you for writing this Shinichi. It was a really touching story. Often we do not know what happens behind closed doors, but I can see that these challenges have created a stronger bond between your family members than ever.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Lady Lorelei: Thank you so much. I am truly grateful for being a part of the squidoo community.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @skyblu816: Thanks for the thoughtful comments. Much appreciated.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @PNWtravels: Thank you! I really enjoyed writing this lens.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @gottaloveit2: Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments. I truly appreciate it.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      @sousababy: Perhaps the meaning is lost in translation to english.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      Thank you so very much for sharing both your and your mothers story. Physical and emotional abuse are such a terrible aspect of life that cause a long tail of anger, hurt, frustration, and continued abuse to follow behind them. I am so glad that you are here now with friends in this community.

    • profile image

      skyblu816 3 years ago

      Aloha, that article was so touching. It makes you realize that what we go through life is sometimes not that bad. Many of us have an attitude of entitlement. Your article brings me back to earth to read about people who have endured many obstacles. thank you for sharing!

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 3 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      A well written page about the complicated relationship many of us have with our mothers. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 3 years ago

      Such a well written tribute! I read every single word. My Mother was pretty much the opposite of yours - very easy to care for and love, always. I'm so glad that you're finding healing though after such a traumatic childhood. Stay well, stay healthy, and love on that Mom!

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sierradawn lm: Thank you Sierra. I'm so glad that you were able to do so while she was alive.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @GrammieOlivia: Thank you grammieo. I truly feel blessed.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @Kim Milai: It sure is kimmilai. I feel lucky our family is the way it is today.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sousababy: Thank you for your thoughful comments sousa. I truly appreciate your visits.

    • smine27 profile image
      Author

      Shinichi Mine 3 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      @sousababy: i'm sure takkhis meant it as a joke. I hope! ;)

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 3 years ago

      @takkhisa: This is a somewhat disturbing comment.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 3 years ago

      Extremely touching - and you convey enormous empathy about your mother's struggles. I am so thankful that you all have come to a point where healing and forgiveness was (is) the priority. Keep writing . .

    • Kim Milai profile image

      Kim Milai 3 years ago

      As dysfunctional as our parents could be, I learned through a therapist and contemplation that they did their best. Coming to a place of forgiveness is a blessing.

    • profile image

      GrammieOlivia 3 years ago

      What a lovely tribute, it's hard to read, yet, is the story of many people. Some never make it to the "bright" side, I'm really glad you and your family did! Blessings to you and yours!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 3 years ago

      At first I always only remembered mostly the negative things. I am so thankful that I was finally able to build a relationship, and remember all of the wonderful things, before she died. This is such a poignant and inspiring tribute to your mother!

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 3 years ago

      What a beautiful tribute to your mother! I am amazed reading this amazing story. I love my mother because of no reason if there is a reason I guess there would be a reason to hurt her :)