The Strongest Woman I’ve Ever Known

My mom is a beacon of light, a treasure trove of strength, and is intelligent beyond her age.

When I reflect on my now 24 years, I realize I didn’t always get along with her; We were always butting heads, especially when I was a teenager. I’d go North, she’d say, “South”. I’d suggest Black, she’d say, “White”, <insert The Beatles’ “Hello Goodbye” here>, etc. But I suppose after experiencing the world on my own for a bit, and observing my friends and acquaintances (of past and present) and their relationships with their mothers, I realize I have it pretty good. And that I won the mom lottery. And she’s pretty much the best.

And I don’t think I’ve ever met a stronger woman in all my life.

My mom was born in Sydney, Australia, partially raised in Sicily, and then came over to the U.S. at 7-years-old. She never had it easy and in fact found herself having to overcome difficulties translating for her parents as a child whether it was haggling the price for new furniture, finding a doctor, or buying a house. She learned English, graduated high school, was the first in her family to go to college, she graduated, became a U.S. citizen, and later spent many years working well-paying (albeit stressful) white collar corporate jobs to support her family.

During those years, her presence at home was scarce. She’d go to work early and come home late and have to do it all over again the next day, and I think that’s where much of our discord began; When we both finally became conscious of my growing-up, we weren’t sure who the other was anymore.

And we’d yell at each other in shopping malls and roll our eyes at each other in church, but I think it’s true when it’s said that “time heals all things” and that things make sense when you get older; Of course they do because you gain more life experience the older you get.

And I know Mother’s Day is not even close, but I just feel the need to write this all out and tell you that my mom is my best friend. Because during this present time of uncertainty and emotional unrest, she has been relentlessly kind, caring, supportive, and understanding in ways I never thought possible.

And since my grandmother has moved in with us and my mom has started going back to school, I’ve had to pick up the slack while she’s gone and I now understand how difficult keeping a house and taking care of another human being is, especially when you’re doing most of if single-handedly by yourself. When I sit down exhausted and tired, she somehow finds the energy and motivation to get up and do more. I don’t understand it. Maybe it’s one of those “when I have kids, maybe I’ll understand” things.

But whatever it is, I know I love her very much.

I know my perspective has changed in regards to a lot of things over the years, and this is one of them.

Love your moms, everyone! They made you, they birthed you, ’tis the season.

September Snapshot

My mom’s started going back to school to get her certification in Spanish Translation. I give her so much credit. She’s the strongest, most determined woman I know. I’m listening to her now doing her homework. She has to listen to these audio passages (some in English, some in Spanish) and then translate them and discern their meanings. They’re legal passages; I suppose examples of courtroom/law scenarios. She keeps repeating how hard it is. I can only imagine – and even that feels like an understatement.

I’m watching the 49ers game on mute while she does this, as to not disturb her. Also, I only have Vernon Davis and Phil Dawson in this game (on my fantasy team) and I’ve already won my matchup. I’ve been really getting into football, and can’t really figure out as to why. I think about it a lot. Like, “Why football? Why now?” Without sounding too cliche or pathetic, maybe it gives me something to believe in. Something to understand and formulate ideas and opinions on, without having it be so serious.

I’m also listening to Nonna in the next room. She gets these belching/indigestion attacks sometimes. She can’t stop and she becomes really uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s caused by antibiotics (which she’s on right now), so it’s probably that because she didn’t really eat anything crazy today that would’ve caused it. I hope she sleeps well tonight. My mom too. Both of them had difficulty falling asleep last night, whereas I went out like a light and slept a good 8 hours. I had a busy day yesterday.

My brother is in marching band. He plays trombone. It’s his first year. Hard work, but he loves it a lot. The team had a breakfast at the high school, and I told him I’d come out to support him. The cafeteria was freezing. I didn’t end up eating anything, as I try to stay away from gluten and dairy on the regular, so I just had some tea. The band had a really awesome performance. They have a really great sound and when you watch them, you can tell they’re all really into it – which I think is great. They were supposed to perform outside, but there was construction and it looked like rain. So they ended up playing in the auditorium – which was also freezing. I brought a hoodie but felt bad for my dad because he didn’t have anything. He ended up putting his arms in his shirt the whole time. I thought it was hilarious.

But anyway, we didn’t get to see the band’s steps, but they did perform on the stage with the drum majors switching every now and then. Even though I couldn’t see my brother (he was in the back with the other trombones), I almost cried a few times. Some of those chords got me right in the feels. Aside from the performance, I was really glad I went because I was able to talk to an old history teacher. He’s definitely one of my top 3 favorite high school teachers, and I was lucky enough to have him for two years – freshman and senior year. He’s the principal now, and it was cool to just kick it with him for a few and chat and laugh about things. It made me feel good about life for awhile.

And I suppose that’s what it’s all about.

I just glanced back at the TV: Chicago scored a touchdown. Niners are up by 10. The game’s a little less than half over. Kaepernick just got a first down. I was expecting Vernon Davis to at least get a touchdown or something. But I guess there’s still time. They’re in the redzone now.

Nonna turned in early. My mom helped put her to bed, despite my insisting that I do it since she has to do her homework. I’m alway railing on her, making sure she’s focusing and not on Facebook – funny how tables turn. Ha! It’s not easy is it?!

I hope the Niners win. I hope I get a call from one of the three companies I interviewed with last week. I hope things work out with a minimum of casualties and unnecessary pain and suffering. Not just in my life, but in other lives. I want to be able to look back on my choices with a smile and someone to hold close at the end of the night.

To close my eyes and feel okay.

Because that’s peace.

And peace opens you up.

I want to be open and accept the good – and the bad.

Because OM.

There you are.