It was 1980. Your life would forever be changed. You were just a teenage girl with an entire life ahead of you. I can’t imagine the thoughts or temptations you faced in those first months after finding out you were pregnant.
I am grateful you decided to be my mom.
Our early days were simple and complicated. We didn’t have much. We did have each other. You and dad made ends meet and kept the peace. We bounced from apartment to apartment as you worked two or three jobs to support me. The most memorable were Zayres and St. Luke’s.
You were a hardworking and strong woman. Still are.
We grew and matured together. You as a woman. Me as a boy. You had to grow up faster and make many hard sacrifices as a single mom compared to your friends. You didn’t have to, but you included me in your social life and friends like Linda were like surrogate mom’s too.
I didn’t make it easy on you. I suppose that’s why there is at least twelve years between me and Samm and my three other siblings. You fought hard with the school counselors and psychologist to keep me moving forward. Some would say I was a challenging young boy. I’d agree. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a loving or caring family. It was that I was ungrateful and selfish.
I am beyond thankful for you!
Being able to watch you care for my other siblings gave me a different perspective on you. Again you worked hard (sometimes too hard) at giving us a good life. Not spoiled. Although you did get me a pretty sweet laptop before heading off to college.
Your independent and driven nature rubbed off well on each of your children. You encouraged responsibility and creativity. When I got my first job at fifteen at Schmidt Sporting Goods I thrived in sales and PR. Those are qualities I inherited from you.
You are a picture of perseverance. You are bluntly honest. You are exuberant. These are all qualities we as your children have learned to adore about you.
After we moved to Wausau, we started attending Wausau Bible Church. It was weird and different at first. You had this fetish with Noah’s Ark stuff. That was weird. I still remember going to Sam’s Club with you and you bought Bibles for us. I still have that Rainbow Study Bible today.
That is when my faith journey began. I was hugely influenced by the new faith you were living and owning as a family. It was genuine and raw. You didn’t push it on me, but didn’t discourage it either. A special day I will always remember is when we were baptized together on the same day. Not many mothers and sons have that in common.
Now you are a grandmother to my four children. A good one at that. Again you are making many sacrifices as we live half-way around the world in the desert of Africa. A normal grandmother gets to see her grandchildren more often. You don’t complain even though I know you’d prefer otherwise.
I love you, mom. Everyday.