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A Mother’s Day Tribute

May 5, 2021

NOTE:  For marking Mother’s Day of 2021, I am again sharing a piece which I wrote on May 2, 2014.  I revised the essay slightly to minimize those seven years which have passed since this piece was first dated and posted.

Gifts from My Mother:  A Mother’s Day Tribute

by Alice Jane-Marie Massa

            On Sunday, May 9, 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 Mother’s Days, mothers who will be lauded on their first Mother’s 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 Mother’s 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 Mother’s Day.  I always gave her Mother’s Day gifts, and we would take her out to dinner 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 Mother’s 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, during my school years, frequently tried 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 resumed 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.  Too frequently, she wrote 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 to me.  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 Mother’s Day!

May 2, 2014, Friday

To my aunt in Minnesota, my sister in Colorado, my cousin in Florida, more cousins (in Indiana, California, Arizona, Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Mexico), friends here and there, my niece across Lake Michigan, my niece near the Rocky Mountains, and all readers of Wordwalk—

Happy Mother’s Day!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow

May 5, 2021, Wednesday


From → Uncategorized

  1. Carole permalink

    Happy Mother’s Day to you also, Alice, for being the very best “mother” that your four wonderful guide dogs could ever have!
    With love and thanks,

    • Hello, Carole–Many thanks for your comment on this post.  I hope that you enjoy a lovely Mother’s Day.

      Take good care, and talk with you very soon–Alice and Willow

  2. Susan McKendry permalink

    This is a very nice post to read. My own mother was a real sucker for brown eyes. Me too, actually! I echo your cousin’s wish for you to have a happy mother’s day for being such a wonderful “mom” to Willow and the three who preceded her.

    • Hi, Sue–Thanks so very much for your comment!  I hope to talk with you soon.

      Take good care, and enjoy the weekend!

      Alice and Willow

  3. mfanyo permalink

    Dear Alice,
    Thank you for the heartfelt memories of our remarkable mother! On this Mother’s Day morning, I am remembering Mother as a baker of delicious sweet treats for the family—marble chiffon cakes, meringue pies, chocolate chip cookies, and much more. In the evenings after working as the Blanford Postmaster all day, Mother would often start a baking project. She loved sweets, and so did I! I especially recall that she would allow me to have a cupcake for breakfast as a special treat! So this morning after my healthy breakfast of cereal and fruit, I enjoyed one of the red velvet cupcakes that I baked for our Mother’s Day dinner with Lee and family later today. Thanks, Mother—and thanks, Alice!
    Love to you and Willow,

    • Mary–Thanks for adding your thoughts to this post!  I hope that all of the Colorado family enjoys a wonderful celebration of Mother’s Day.

      Enjoy your special day!

      Alice and Willow

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