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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Treasure Tuesday

Chaotic Mom is inviting bloggers to blog about "Giving Thanks for Mothers" so I thought this would be a good time to write about my own mother for Treasure Tuesday.

My parents divorced when I was around 7 and my brother 5. We were living in Germany at the time; I returned to the states with my mom while my brother stayed with my dad.

Being only 7 I don't quite remember everything, I do seem to remember going to FL with my mom and we stayed with friends of hers in a houseboat? (I'm sure my mom will correct me if I'm wrong!) Shortly after that I went to live with my maternal grandparents and not long after that my father returned stateside and I went to live with him and my brother.

After the divorce was final my dad had custody of my brother and me. I know in the majority of divorces the kids pretty much stay with the mother - it's almost like a given. But in defense of my dad, fathers are capable of raising their children too! :)

I don't pretend to know all the details of the divorce, the custody issues, what happened etc, those aren't things children need to know. I remember my mom not having a job, or a place to live, not knowing how she would provide for 2 children. (I know there are plenty of single mothers out there who do manage to get by with whatever resources are available, I understand this, but I also understand each situation is different and this was our situation). I know mothers out there can't imagine not having custody of their children, being a mother now myself, I can only imagine how hard this was on my mom. However, my father was in the Air Force. He was better able to provide for us. He had job security. We would have a house on base wherever he moved; elementary and middle schools on base, medical care - all of that was taken care of. So we lived with my dad.

And I think that was the biggest sacrifice my mom could have made- to put us and what was a better situation for us - ahead of her wanting us to live with her. How heartrenching that must have been for her, but what an incredibly selfless act that was for her to be able to do.

Just because she didn't have custody of us doesn't mean she wasn't involved in our lives; oh you bet she was! We received letters every week, phone calls, visits. When she could she came to our school and met our teachers. During this time she started to get her own life back together - going to college and graduating a dental hygienist.

We lived in MA and she lived in NC; she was eventually able to move to MA to be even closer to us. Our friends got to meet her and she let us have sleepovers at her place - even though this meant less one-on-one time with us during the weekend we had to visit.

Then my dad had orders to Germany; just after she moved to MA to be closer to us! We were still able to fly back to the states for a couple of visits during the summers. She was even able to send us to Denmark one Christmas to spend with her brother, his family, and her parents.

Even though I didn't grow up living with my mom, she was always a big part of my life. She's always been there for me, I know I can talk to her about anything, and most importantly, I always knew I was loved.

Now I get to watch her be a wonderful grandmother to Kayla ... a role she embraces with absolute gusto! She couldn't be a more proud grandmother (along with Joe's mom - Kayla's been blessed with wonderful, loving grandparents all over!)

My mom tells me I'm a hero to her, but I think she's a hero. 20+ years ago (and probably even now) there was a lot of stigma if you were a mom and didn't have custody of your kids. But my mom was able to hold her head high knowing she was doing what was best for our situation, knowing that she loved her children with all her heart, knowing that she was still a part of our lives and that she could still help shape, nurture, and influence us to be the best we could be.

Like that saying goes, "A mother holds her child's hand for awhile, their heart forever."

So I'm giving thanks to you mom, not just for giving me life, but for making the biggest sacrifice of your life.

I love you mom (and I can't wait to see you [and Kelly!] this Saturday!


Dori (Aviva's mommy) said...

What a beautiful dedication to your mom. She sounds like an amazing woman.


LauraJ said...

What an awesome tribute to your mom!!

Nisa said...

I'm crying over here! This is such a beautifully written post. I am thankful for your mom too. I never thought about her missing her one-on-one time with you and Mike when I went with you to visit her, but looking back now, of course that's what she did. Your mom is like another mom to me. I love her very much and I think she did a great job helping to "shape" you into the wonderful person you are today. Mom-Donna I love you!
love, Eunice

Catch said...

That is beautiful Michelle. You are a very wise young lady. And I am sure your Mother is greatful that you understood what she was going through. How lucky she is to have such a wonderful daughter! God bless both of you!

Jessica said...

That was beautiful! What a wonderful dedication to your mother!!

Deb said...

I'm bawling; that was such a beautiful post. I really liked that quote; it's so true!

chelle said...

Totally sounds like your Mom is a true treasure! What an amazing story!

Much More Than A Mom said...

You brought tears to my eyes Michelle. Your mom is very special!

Kathleen Marie said...

What a wonderful tribute! I wish more father's who don't have custody had the same attitude as your mother, to remain a part of their children's lives. I can't imagine being in that situation. My parents divorced when I was 24 and pregnant with my first.

Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt story about a wonderful woman.

Tracey said...

Aw, Michelle... That was very beautiful. And you are an amazing person to have such understanding for her and your father.

Christina said...

This is beautiful Michelle. You brought tears to my eyes! I am sure your mom is equally proud of you!

PEA said...

A beautiful post Michelle...I can tell it came from the heart and it's wonderful to know that you now understand why your mom did what she did and that you have such a close relationship!

Pamela said...

Michelle, this was such a heartfelt lovely tribute to your Mom. You are so blessed to have such a selfless kind and thoughtful Mom. I love that she strived and continued to to better herself. She went out of her way to be there for you just to move closer and then to faced with your Dad getting orders. My goodness!

I love that the relationship you and your Mom formed created a bond that will never be broken no matter how far apart you are! I also love that you appreciate the great job your Dad did in providing to strong foundation for you to grow up with!
Such a touching post! :)

Anonymous said...

Only through your "eyes" I see myself as you saw me, as you and Mike were going through changes in your lifes... I did not know how vulnerable (after 20 + years) I would become after reading your post...so many raw emotions, still behind the heart, hidden in a place one keeps to themselves.... ( I cried) Your thoughts on me were beautifully written and I feel "honored". It was not easy, tho, for you and Mike, I know.. But, yes , your dad was there for you and was a "great dad" too. I LOVE YOU !!! Thank you Eunice.. I love you too.. :) I thoroughly enjoy watching you ,Michelle, with your daughter, Kayla.... A Mother holds their children's hands for awhile...their hearts forever... Love Mom

Anonymous said...

What a beauitful thing to write about your mom.She is so sweet. I know she had to cry when reading this.I know being a mom myself that having you live with your dad was hard for her but in her heart she knew it was best. She knew what a sweet loving father you had and that he could provide. As a mother that is the most important thing giving your child a good life.
I remember you telling me about the boat house and i think she will correct you on that also. i remember her saying something about it.
You and your mom do have a special bond and anyone who has seen you together can see that.She really is such a sweet and loving person.She has such a big heart!

Anonymous said...

Michelle, I know that this has meant so much to your mother reading how you feel about her after all those years! She did think about you at that time and felt this was best for you and your brother tho it was very hard for her to do. She has and always will love her children and now grandchild. Your mom was strong then and she still is with all that she has been through. She is the best. I should know, she is my twin sister! She is so looking forward to being with you, Joe but the most important one she can't wait to see is KAYLA! Love, Aunt Debbie

K.T. said...

Wonderful life story.......Great Post!

Overwhelmed! said...

Oh, Michelle, this post made my eyes a bit misty. How beautiful that you feel that way about your mother, despite how hard the divorce must've been for you and your brother.

It sounds as though your mother is someone to be proud of!

Overwhelmed! said...

Oh, Michelle, this post made me get a bit misty-eyed.

How beautiful that you and your mom have such a wonderful relationship.

It sounds as though you mother is someone to be very proud of!

Thanks for sharing!

Melany aka Supermom said...

That completely brought tears to my eyes!!! What a special mom you have. What she must have gone through. Wow.

Chaotic Mom said...

Okay, I'm crying again. Finally finishing reading posts and I'm bawling like a baby.

I absolutely LOVE that you were able to not only keep in touch with your mom, but how involved she's been in your life. As kids I don't think we need to fully understand what our parents are going through, but your parents seem to have done an amazing job giving you some stability in quite a trying time.

I see that in you, with how you approach your own challenges. It's been a blessing to come across your blog. Not easy being a parent no matter what the circumstances, right? I struggle with that every day.

This was absolutely beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing.

Chaotic Mom said...

I have laughed, and I sure have cried while reading through ALL of the Giving Thanks for Mother contest entries. And I've RE-READ them all since coming home, too.

I wish I could post ALL of them as winners, maybe send out some more books from my winnowed out collection. ;)

But I've FIANLLY published a winner and invite you to come on by and check out my post. I am working on a sidebar link to the winning post, but also a link to the contest post with ALL of the listed entries.

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