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A Most Remarkable Woman

Updated on March 31, 2013

Answering the question "What is the best advice you've ever received from an older, wiser person?" is both very easy and not at all easy for me . . . identifying the "older, wiser" person is easy - my mom. Narrowing her career as a mother down to the "best" advice - that's the tricky bit.

I hope that everyone enjoys a great appreciation for what they have in life, I hope everyone believes that they have the best wife, the best kids, etc . . . and I've written threads on exactly that, announcing to the world that I do in fact have the best wife, the best family, the best dog, and I could easily write 6 separate hubs on having the best (6) kids in the world. But somehow having the best mother in the world seems to me perhaps the most instantly definable. All my life my mother was always the strongest, smartest, prettiest, most remarkable person in any room.


Some of my mom's remarkableness was easy to see. I grew-up in the 60s, when there was national attention given to a redefining of women's roles in American culture, women were coming to recognize that they were not 2nd class citizens, they were not just generally inferior to men, that they had their own worth and began to demand the respect they deserved, etc - the women's movement was totally superfluous to my mother. She simply didn't need a massive cultural shift to inform her she was not 2nd class to anybody, she didn't require a new philosophy of gender roles to demonstrate to her that she was the equal of any man, my mom just did not need anyone to tell her she ought to be respected. The legitimacy of her intellect and abilities informed her of all this and the weight of her character evidenced it to those around her - my mother was 'liberated' before there ever was a women's liberation movement.

It wasn't difficult at all for me to heed my mother, to listen for and benefit from her advice. My mother, as a mother, operated right in the pocket of a perfect balance between love and discipline . . . I knew my mother loved me, no matter what - and I knew my mom was the boss, no matter what. When I was growing-up there was no 'eat your dinner or you don't get dessert' - if my mom had to tell me to eat my dinner, I had to eat my dinner, like, I had to start taking bites until I was finished, no 'or else' required. If she told me to clean my room, there was no 'if you don't clean your room you're going to stand in the corner', etc - there was no 'if not' about it, when she said to clean my room I had to start cleaning my room and not stop until it was clean.


Because I saw her as so deliberate, no piddling around with things (or people) but accomplishing well-considered plans, any kind of commentary or insights to life, any manner of axiom or advice she might share, seemed a likely treasure to me. To my mom, words were important, words meant what they actually did mean and they didn't mean what they didn't mean . . . if you didn't like brussels sprouts then you didn't say 'I'm not hungry' you said 'I don't want to eat those brussels sprouts because I don't like them'. In nearly all things, both ideas and actions, my mom 'cut to the chase'. If we heard noises outside our window or saw someone moving around in the dark, my single-mom didn't call the police, she would grab a broom and rush out the front door.

My mom seemed always in control, always the one to go to in any circumstance. Here's an example of the kind of woman my mom was; I only ever saw my mom drunk once in my life - and by 'drunk' I mean she had a bit too much to drink, she was a little tipsy. We were at home and she had made (another) fine meal, Italian . . . and she had some red wine with her pasta. Recognizing that she had a bit more than she thought best, she sat my sister and I down (we were probably about 9 and 11 years old) and told us that she had more to drink than she realized and didn't want us to see her under the influence of anything other than her own competency, so we were to clean-up, watch a little tv, and be in bed by 11 - and she went to bed. Even without her full faculties she was well-reasoned and deliberate.


So, for me, to isolate one piece of advice, to share one idea or statement from this remarkable woman is a daunting task, her whole life was an example - but I will share two things that she said to me that I remember her saying, I mean, I recall the occasion of her sitting me down and having my attention and imparting to me. The first may sound so simple a phrase and so obvious a truth that you miss the profundity of it, but, not just to a 10 year old boy, but to me, to the 10 year old boy that I was . . . everything changed for me, when my mom said to me; "Mickey, no body is any better than you - and you're not any better than anyone else". Everything changed for me because, I believed her. I began to live my life more as though the real truth was that no one WAS any better than me and that I was certainly NOT better than others.


And I don't think there is anything I got from my mother that I've tried more earnestly to pass on to my own children than this; "Mickey, if you are good at anything, if you have any gifts or abilities, anything that gives you any advantage over others - use that to help others . . . that's why you were given those advantages, not to serve your own interests, but so you could help those who don't have those particular gifts or abilities". I'm nearly 60 years old now, and I'm 6'2" - when I go to the grocery store with my wife I just wander around the store as she shops . . . looking for people who may not be able to reach something on the top shelf.

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    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      4 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      . . . so, a couple of years later - my mom just died last week. And in absolute true form, nothing killed her - she died just as she lived, in full control. She was no as mobile as a year earlier, and she didn't like that. She got her children and doctors together and had us all pledge that no extreme measures would be taken, no feeding tubes, etc, should she really start to falter - then she promptly stopped eating.

      With no food or drink and off all her medications, the doctors were astonished at how long she lasted and all the staff was astonished at how good she still looked . . . not conscious for a week and days before she died, one nurse asked "I hope this is not out-of-place but, what kind of skin care did she practice? I wish I had skin like hers". She slowly, quietly, surrounded by loved ones, just stopped . . .

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      6 years ago from South Africa

      Awesome! Your mother was indeed a remarkable woman, one I would call a role model. Excellent tribute to your mother. And now I also know she was not better than you and you are not better than her....

      I think I may say 'checkmate', or what, Mickey? :)))

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Loved this hub and it speaks for a generation that no longer exists. We obeyed our parents. Today kids are reasoned with about things beyond their age. To me NO was NO and it was like that with my kids. So in many ways our parents had it much easier. This hub really brought up some old feelings..You did an excellent job in getting this point across. Thanks for sharing your family life.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      Gypsy ~ thanks so much for the kind words, you're always encouraging to me and I do appreciate it.

    • freecampingaussie profile image

      freecampingaussie 

      6 years ago from Southern Spain

      Hi ! I really enjoyed your hub & was imagining your Mum racing out of the door with a broom to attack someone outside ! She sounds like a lovely person & voting you up .

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      I profusely apologize for making that error on your other article as I no longer have my parents it just came automatically. However I must say your mom is still a very lovely lady and it's wonderful that God has granted her a long life. God bless.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and beautiful. Such a wonderful tribute to your mom. She sounds like such a great lady and she was very beautiful. I miss my mom lots. Thanks for sharing.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      Victoria ~ you're too sweet.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      ThussaysNanaMarie ~ thank you so much for your generous and kind words.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Mickey--Just read your response to my comment. I feel so good about this hub. It's absolutely delightful.

    • ThussaysNanaMarie profile image

      ThussaysNanaMarie 

      6 years ago from In my oyster

      Again, another lovely hub. I really enjoyed reading this. Credit should be given where credit is due. Her legasy lives on in you and through you. I voted this up, beautiful interesting and awesome.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      Victoria Lynn ~ "And I love how you ended in the grocery store . . ." - I'm so glad you saw it that way . . . I really wasn't sure if folks would see that as a sound ending to the piece, but I know, from my own experience of the story this piece tells, that it is exactly the ending-up of the story (at this point - passing all this on to my own kids I'll count as another story). Thanks.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      VioletSun ~ thanks so much for the encouragement . . . I've no doubt whatsoever there are flaws in all that I write, but I'm not sure I agree with Jaggedfrost's point concerning this "flaw".

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      must65gt ~ I genuinely appreciate the favorable review

      (so, are we ok now?)

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      Kimberly - at first I was thinking that you meant this was your favorite hub of mine, and I was delighted - but I've come to realize that you meant this is your all time favorite hub of any hubs that anyone has ever written, and I'm overjoyed! Thanks angel-muffin.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I thought this was a wonderful, touching hub. You answered my question perfectly, and I don't think the intro at the top with the question took away from the hub at all. You transitioned beautifully into the body of your hub. What an amazing tribute to your mom. And I love how you ended in the grocery store helping people with items on the top shelf. That's why I gave you a funny, as it was kind of funny but very sweet. Heck, I gave you all the votes, and of course UP! Great job, I think! Sharing this one!

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      rlaha ~ thanks so much for the favorable votes.

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 

      6 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      This was a very well written hub, didn't find a flaw with it. I felt your depth and love for your mother, the values she imparted and her dignity. My thoughts were, "what a lady!" To think that her upbringing of you made you the loving husband and Dad that you are.

      Voted up and beautiful!

    • Jaggedfrost profile image

      Jaggedfrost 

      6 years ago

      "answering the question," but as I said before, it was a very touching piece.

    • must65gt profile image

      must65gt 

      6 years ago

      This must have been a difficult hub to write. The evidence of your affection and respect for the woman who bore you, raised you; helped you to develop into the man you are. Moreover the father you had to become, in order to find inwardly approval in your mothers eyes by accomplishing the qualities in life she worked to instill. May your children look to you the way you see your mother. Not only for what she did but for who she is. So one day your children may ask themselves the same questions you ask of yourself now. Great hub and voted up

    • profile image

      kimberlyslyrics 

      6 years ago

      my favourite hub yet mickey, thank you for sharing with us

      bless

    • rlaha profile image

      rlaha 

      6 years ago from Spartanburg, SC

      I enjoyed reading this. It was a wonderful tribute to your mother. I voted this up, beautiful, awesome and have shared this with my followers.

    • MickeySr profile imageAUTHOR

      MickeySr 

      6 years ago from Hershey, Pa.

      So I'm clear on your point - what are you counting as the "intro" . . ? . . The "Answering the question 'What is the best advice you've ever received from an older, wiser person?' is both very easy and not at all easy for me . . ." or the "I hope everyone believes that they have the best wife, the best kids, etc . . . All my life my mother was always the strongest, smartest, prettiest, most remarkable person in any room" bit? Like, where exactly do you see the voice changing?

    • Jaggedfrost profile image

      Jaggedfrost 

      6 years ago

      just a thought. Don't write about what you are going to write about later or what you have written about. I loved the intro even if it took me a couple of goes to read it in the voice it was intended... then the voice changed entirely. It is a touching bit though. Thanks for writing it.

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