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Remembering My Mother With Love
Bittersweet Mothers Day
Born Shifra Kraesll Schroda in Poland in the year 1912, American citizenship, marriage and a slight name change created Shirley K. Mamlin, the woman who was my mother.
It has been almost twelve years but to me it seems like yesterday. Three o'clock in the morning on the first Thanksgiving of the new millennium I received a phone call from the hospital. The nurse asked me to come as soon as I could. No one had to tell me what I would find when I arrived, but it did not make the experience any less traumatic. My mother was gone and that special part of me went with her.
I know this happens to everyone at some point, and I am thankful that my mother died in her old age. I am also thankful that I had so much time with her. We were a pair, more than mother and daughter. We were best friends. There was nothing I did that I would not feel comfortable telling my mother and know that she would be there to listen and help if she could.
Mother's Day has never been the same, but every year I remember how truly blessed I was to have been born to the woman I called mother.
A Bride of the Depression
Looking Toward the Future
My parents were married September 15, 1935, during the Great Depression. It was hard times for everyone, but my father managed to find a job and support his new wife. In the beginning they lived with my grandmother, but in time they were able to afford an apartment.
My mother had her heart set on having a baby, but not just any baby, she wanted desperately to have a daughter. But wanting and receiving are two different things. Years passed with no baby in the future. My mother had just about given up hope. The day the phone rang and the doctor told her she was pregnant, my mother said she dropped the bucket of water she was holding all over her newly washed floor.
Pregnancy was not easy for my mother nor was delivery, but when she learned she had a baby daughter she was so excited my father had to calm her down. I remember she told me the woman in the next bed had just delivered her fourth boy and was beside herself with jealously that my mother had given birth to a girl.
My mother could sing and play the piano without any professional training. She had a beautiful voice and would sing to me all the time when I was little. I would also find her humming or singing in the kitchen while cooking one of her special meals.
The love my mother had for me the day I was born never wavered, and she often reminded me that my birth made her life complete. I have no brothers and sisters. I don't know whether that was planned or not, but the fact remains I am an only child.
My Mother and Me
I was a Handful
I must say I was not the best child in the world. I would sit down in the middle of the trolly car if there were no seats, get lost in the dress shops by hiding among the clothes even though I knew my mother was frantic. I would start trouble and run away to leave my parents wondering what to do with me. It was common to spank children in those days, but my mother could never do it. My father on the other hand had no such qualms, but he had to catch me first.
I made life really tough for my parents, especially my mother, when I was in my teens transitioning from elementary school to junior high school. I could not make the transition. I would go to school and get sick every day and be sent home. I missed most of my first year in junior high.
As the school year came to a close, I was on the verge of being taken away from my parents for missing so many classes. I remember the day so well that we stood before a judge who told us that if I did not go to school I would be placed in a foster home. I thought my mother would faint. My parents promised that somehow I would be back in school next term.
Bless my mother. She researched private schools to find one that would be suitable for a me and could handle my problems with attending classes. I was sent to a private school that had eight teens to a class and a very understanding teacher. While there, I completed my first and second terms of junior high school.
I never knew how my parents paid for that school. They had little extra money and no family to borrow from, but somehow they found the resources, and I found the courage to go and stay.
Life with a Teenager
Mothers Can Be So Much Help
My mother was there for me when I wanted to discuss my dating and boyfriend problems even when she had reservations about the boy that had currently caught my eye. She was understanding, quick with advice and never forced her opinion on me. Instead of telling me she did not like this boy or that one, she encouraged me to talk about them. She would point out things that concerned her without pressuring me to see her point of view.
I was surprised that my mother, who never dated much, seemed to have the right approach to my problems. Her advice sometimes included a reminder not to do something I would regret later, but the way she said it made me feel the decision was mine.
I finished high school eighth in my class of five hundred. Not bad for someone who did not want to go to school. By my high school years I thrived on the challenges presented to me, and my mother beamed at my success.
I Made a Bad Decision
Mother was There to Help
I worked as a secretary after high school and did not attend college until many years later. It was time to help with some of the expenses around the house and time to take a break from school.
I was twenty-one when I met my first husband and twenty-two when I divorced him. I know it hurt my mother a great deal to see me unhappy, but I had made a bad decision. During the year that I was married my mother was supportive but never interfered. The decision to leave was mine alone, but the determination to support me was so like my mother.
When I arrived at my parent's house with four suitcases and an appointment to put the rest of my things in storage, my mother just opened the door and hugged me and told me everything would be fine. I would find the right man and never look back. How right she was. But I could not have left without her support.
Life is Good
I married the love of my life when I was twenty-four. He had been my first love when I was in my teens. Of course, my mother was there to help with all the encouragement I had come to cherish. She was my rock. The person I could count on when things were bad and to celebrate with when things were good.
It rained on my wedding day. Everyone said that was good luck. They were so right. My mother sang, danced and look so beautiful. She and my father were dancers, just like my husband and I. We all love to dance and dance we did till the wee hours of the morning. It would be such a cliche to say we all lived happily ever after, but it was so true.
My mother loved to shop. We would meet once a week and go to the malls. My mother would buy something she did not need and return it the following week. It was a joke between us, because she would get a thrill out of the purchase which quickly faded and another thrill that she could return it. We would have lunch, talk and just enjoy being together.
I Love You Mother
Happy Mother's Day
Even with the problems I had with school and a bad marriage, there were no great traumas in our lives. My parents were healthy almost their entire lives. I would say they lived a normal and peaceful existence except for the small ups and downs that are part of living. My mother was a happy and optimistic person. She always saw the bright side of things.
I am the luckiest person alive to have had my mother in my life. I wish I had told her that, but I really have no regrets. She knew I loved her and would do anything for her and she returned my love with a smile, a hug and a song.
This Lens Received a Purple Star
Books to Remember Mother
For all who face mother's day without their mother.