A year and a day – at least I’m calling it that even though the calendar only says it’s been a year. 366 days is an important time frame used in many instances to say you survived, met a challenge, a spiritual goal etc… but because of leap year, my 366 day actually falls on the anniversary of the day. You see, March 1st 2015 was the day I lost my mom.
They say that parents live on in their children. A good friend of mine reminded me of this when I was missing my mom recently. And if there is any way I wish to honor the part of my parents that is inside me it is with my actions. Today I honor my mom – dad will just have to wait until May.
My mom grew up poor – and by poor I mean at times living with the fear of impending eviction because they did not have the rent money. Poor as in she started working when she was barely in double digits. Her family was rich with love but material things were often hard to come by. My mom was eight years old in this photo and she hated it. She was embarrassed because the coat was a hand-me-down from her adult aunt, and it was much too big for her, but it was all she had to wear so she did. This impacted my mom for the rest of her life. Though she didn’t say as much, I could imply from our conversation about the coat that she got teased because of it. Decades later, when she and dad moved into Park Springs, a retirement continuing care facility, she was very concerned that she dressed appropriately. When we would go shopping, I could hear the 8 year-old girl wanting to make sure she fit in and wouldn’t stand out for all the wrong reasons.
It’s probably that 8 year-old girl in my mom that made her so aware of the under-dogs in this world. My mom would frequently try to get the person who wouldn’t talk or participate in a group, to join in. She’d whittle away at their resistance, and before they knew it, she would have them talking, opening up, letting her see inside the wounds that kept them at a distance. I called them ‘her projects’ and whether it was the lady down the hall who always looked lonely or the bad card player that drove everyone else crazy, she tried to let them know someone cared. She wanted people to smile.
A senior lecturer of marketing at Kennesaw State University, Tyra is a gamer-girl, gadget geek at heart.