It came as no surprise; we thought that she was leaving us last December. My mother’s tenacity, her sheer determination was the strength that gave us six more months to ask the questions, share the hugs, tell her one more time how much I love her and to gaze upon a smile I have known my entire life. How many things can we claim to have had all our lives? It was her belief that we can do anything we truly desire, if we have the dream, energy and drive to make it happen. Not paper houses or pipe dreams but the potential that is within each of our reach.
Mom began her mothering in the mold of so many women after WWII. Marry the dashing pilot, support his education and career, bring four children into the world, climb the social ladder and walk the line that society expected and demanded at that time. It wasn’t until an irrevocable chasm opened between her and my dad that Mom found her wings, dug deep and discovered a courage that allowed her to raise four children by herself. The central theme to all our lessons was to ‘”Stand on your own two feet, never depend or demand anyone to support you and always be willing to work”. “You are what makes the changes”, “Don’t let fear stand in the way of your goal” were the messages.
She returned to college and gained a teaching credential. In those days a woman’s career, outside of the home, was limited to nursing, teaching or library sciences. It is hard to imagine a world where half the population were numb, cocooned into believing that they didn’t have the resources to compete. So many times as a child I would wake in the middle of the night to hear her sewing machine whirring away. The only way she could afford to keep us sprouts in clothes was to make them herself. The only time she had to herself was in the wee hours when we weren’t commanding her attention. Not only did we all go on to college, take on careers that promoted us to experiences she never anticipated, but we all share the same drive, the determination to knuckle down and do what needs to be done to succeed.
And so I return, soaring across the western landscape, on my own wings, the wings of my mother’s dreams. She never wavered in her belief that I would become a denizen of the airways. I come to honor her, our family and friends and the universal love that makes this life possible. The flight from south east Utah to California encompasses the most magnificent terrain, history of earth’s life and the time to let your vision go beyond the landscape of limits. It was my time to soar along with her.
To all our mothers, to the mother in each of us I send the largest bouquet of thankfulness. The next step, the next challenge is dedicated to you.