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Happy Mothers’ Day

May 13, 2017

 

NOTE:  To honor the memory of my mother on this Mother’s Day of 2017 and to wish all other mothers a “Happy Mothers’ Day,” I am sharing with you a piece which I had originally posted on this Wordwalk blog in May of 2014.

 

 

Gifts from My Mother:  A Mothers’ Day Tribute

 

By Alice Jane-Marie Massa

 

 

On Sunday, May 14, all types of mothers will be celebrated, honored, and remembered:  saintly mothers and so-so mothers, adoptive mothers and adaptable mothers, mothers who have smiled on many Mothers’ Days, mothers who will be lauded on their first Mothers’ Day, and mothers-to-be.  Then, I think of my mother who was last here on Earth for Mothers’ Day of 2001.  While we all try to give our mothers special gifts on this special day in May, I now ponder the gifts which my mother gave to me—the second of her two daughters.

 

Since my family and I were from Indiana—my dad and I (and much of our extended family) were avid fans of motor racing.  For many Hoosiers and race fans around the world, the month of May is equated with the Indianapolis 500—the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.  My first exciting trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) was at age five.  For decades, the first weekend of qualifications for the Indy 500 coincided with Mothers’ Day.  Knowing what fans my dad and I were of racing, my mother probably too often generously gave us the gift of allowing us to go to the Time Trials at IMS on Mothers’ Day.  I always gave her Mothers’ Day gifts, and we would take her out to eat on another day.  Nevertheless, didn’t she give me an unselfish gift?  Although my mother did not want us to feel guilty then, I now certainly do feel a twinge of guilt recalling how many times we spent Mothers’ Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway—almost always without her.

 

A very different, but important gift which my mother gave me was the gift of reading to me.  Due to my eye condition, she did not just read to me when I was a child:  my mother continued to read to me until Alzheimer’s robbed her of her gift of reading.  Unlike most parents, mine were frequently trying to discourage me from reading print so much—they wanted me to save my eyesight by avoiding eye strain from reading too much.  Consequently, my mother read chapter books to me—a chapter a night.  Some of the book covers I can still picture in my mind:  Little Women, The Bobbsey Twins, Annie Oakley, Fury, Wild Geese Flying.  From 1985-1990, when I was coordinating the Sunday morning radio program Talking Newspaper, my mother read to me numerous articles from three newspapers so that I could select and edit each week the articles to be read by some of the fifty volunteers.  Soon after this experience, I purchased my first Kurzweil reading machine and then a computer with speech software.  Through a variety of means of reading and writing, I eventually found a new path in life and returned to school for a second master’s degree and then returned to full-time teaching.

 

A rare gift my mother gave to me was not letting my diminishing eyesight diminish my career path or opportunities.  How did she feel about having a child who would gradually become blind?  I do not know by what she ever said:  I only know by her actions.  She was always writing to specialists around the United States, and my dad would drive me to the appointments with ophthalmologists.  Only once did she ever somewhat express a comment about my eyes.  as my mother was driving our bright red Ford from Highway 71 to the cut-off road back home, my mother quite calmly stated:  “When you were a baby, you had such big, beautiful brown eyes, I never thought ….”  Her voice trailed off, and those few words were all that she ever said on the subject.  How she really felt about having a daughter who is blind, I will never really know—I think this is a gift for the child and the adult child.  However, without a doubt, the greatest gift my mother gave me was that she let me be—let me be myself, let me dream.  She let me be.  Thanks, Mom.  From Earth to Heaven, Happy Mothers’ Day!

 

May 2, 2014, Friday

 

To my aunt in Minnesota, my sister in Colorado, my cousin in “Alligator Country,” my cousins in Indiana, my cousins in California and Oregon, my cousins in Mexico and Missouri, friends here and there, my niece across Lake Michigan, my niece near the Rocky Mountains, and all readers of Wordwalk

Happy Mothers’ Day!

 

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

May 13, 2017, Saturday

 

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2 Comments
  1. mfanyo permalink

    Thank you for the Mother’s Day wishes, Alice, and for the beautiful tribute to our dear Mother! We were blessed to have a mother who taught us by her example about the love for family, the importance of friends, the dedication to profession, and so many more values and skills that have shaped our lives to make us who we are today.
    Wishing you and Willow a lovely day!
    Love, Mary

  2. Gina Amerman permalink

    Alice, thank you for the lovely Mother’s Day wishes! I always love your stories about your mother (and/or dad). I spent many happy hour visiting Mary and you at your Blanford home. Love, Gina

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