Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ode to My Mother

The events of the last week forced me to reflect on my mother and the love she has for her kids – even me. Being in the hospital with Mom on my birthday wondering what could happen was very sobering. I decided to record these reflections over the next few posts. My rants about the hospital experience can wait. I am going to indulge my mom on these pages. After all, she indulged me her whole life. She is resting at home now (I brought her home yesterday), but her health still is a bit fragile. Thanks to all who sent warm thoughts and prayers.

Ode to My Mother

Mom worked hard all her life. When I was young, she worked two jobs (about 18 hrs per day). It was the only way we could make ends meet. She worked as a waitress/bartender for a couple of small establishments. I remember every Sunday, she would dump the contents of her purse on the kitchen table and start counting her tips for the week. It would consist almost entirely of coins. She would count and I would help her put them into rolls. Then, she would put the rolled coins in a cloth bank bag and hide it in the back of her closet.

Really, the only time my little sister and I could spend with Mom was on Sunday because of her jobs. We would generally go to a matinee and eat out at a restaurant called the “Country School” or at the “Ponderosa”. It was a treat because it was a step up from McDonalds. I remember mom getting irritated because I almost always had to go to the bathroom (the sit-down kind) before we left the restaurant. She joked that I was just flushing her money down the toilet.

Every couple of years, she took the tip money she saved and took us on a mini vacation. It was my mom who took me to see my beloved Cincinnati Reds for the first time. It was my birthday and I was nine years old. I didn’t realize it then, but it was a very unselfish act by her. She cared nothing about baseball. It didn’t matter. Her little boy cared and that was enough for her. There we were mother and child at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. I had a make-shift Reds uniform on and had my over-sized (for my hand) ball glove ready for the foul ball that never came near our seats. I couldn’t figure out why my older sister decided to stay at the hotel and swim (and stay with my younger sister). It was some time later that I realized that I was the only one that wanted to see the game. I love my mom.