My Mom. My Hero.

All my life I’ve had to contend with people wanting my mom to be theirs. Really, even into adulthood people will tell me, “I wish your mom was my mom.” If I had a dollar… Yep, I got me the best and I knows it. I’ve always known it. But does my mom know it? That has always been the question. And if she knew, what specifically would she know or need to know that would touch the heart of who she wants to be as a mother? Sometimes we’re appreciated for things we don’t actually appreciate about ourselves.

A woman on a mission. A favorite photo of mom in graduate school in the 70s.

So, all weekend I’ve been thinking, “How can I express to my mom the ways in which I value her.” Some of them are traditional like her love for creating and maintaining a beautiful home, mine is such a reflection of her tirelessness and attention to the little details. Her attention to feelings and human development. Her never ending concern and attention. Her affectionate nature. But this can be said of so many good moms can’t it? My mom stands out to me in a different way.

All of my life I have valued vision, intellect, passion, creativity, and hard work. Those are some of my top values. I got those from my parents. And my mother, in particular, a woman driven in a non-traditional way, was my role model. This is a woman who changed the way nursing is taught so that more people could become nurses faster. This is a woman who never stopped trying to solve her family’s disfunction, striving for a healthy acknowledgement of some serious hidden issues. This is a woman who will willingly engage in battle if she sees inequality, or that something needs to be fixed. This is a woman with a vision for things to be the best they can be. She is curious, focused, and generous with her time to make this work. And you know what, these are things I learned from her. These are the tools I use to make my life work.

So I came to the conclusion that of all the things a mom can teach a kid, the very best thing my mom taught me was “We are never done! There is always something to do to make things better.” Yup, that’s about keepin on keepin on and my mom is all about that.

My mom has vision

My mom has insight

My mom has style

My mom has discipline

My mom has patience

My mom has love.

So as I’m thinking all of this today, and lying in bed having been instructed by Georgia that I was to remain in bed (hearing clinks and bangs in my kitchen). As a special breakfast arrived on the tray, along with it came my gifts, the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” (tears already), a handmade card with Georgia’s beautiful way with art and words, it all came clear. Georgia had written exactly what I wanted to say about my mom without knowing it. Here’s what she wrote (punctuation kept to maintain integrity of poetry):

Mary Gilbert

Who wonders what life will be like without me

Who hears my cry when I am hurt

Who sees me getting into a great college

Who wants the best for me

Mary Gilbert, a mother who never gives up

Who pretends I will never grow up

Who feels pain when I am hurt

Who cries when she gets something wrong

Mary Gilbert, a mother who never gives up.

Who understands that my life is not always easy.

Who says that nothing can stop me

Who dreams of me being successful

Who tries to be the best mom

Mary Gilbert, a mother who never gives up.

Love, Georgia

Mother’s Day, 2011

Here’s to you mom, grandma, aunties, and friends. We’re getting something right!!!

2 thoughts on “My Mom. My Hero.

  1. Gaye

    That is so so so beautiful, sweet, wonderful…you gift the rest of us in sharing this, Mary. Thanks—happy mother’s day to you all, you, your mom, your family, and Georgia, especially—she is a writer like her momma! Very nicely said.

  2. Jolie Finkbiner

    What a tribute, Georgia! How well you know your mama. And what a tribute YOU are to YOUR mom, Mary Alice. I love you and am smiling to think of you surrounded with such lovely children. XOXO

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