|My mother with her sister-in-law, Claire.|
I recently saw an article with the above title and, without reading it, it made me think. Am I? Would that be such a bad thing?
|Gene Vilma Strickler|
Life didn't go as planned for my mother. Just seven years after moving to Manheim, my father suffered two major heart attacks. It was 1964 and the doctors predicted he had five years left at most. My 37-year-old former SAHM quickly decided she better get a job and find a way to support her three daughters. So, she went to work, went to night school and learned to drive. As it turned out, Dad beat the odds and stuck around for another 18 years! I come from tenacious stock.
Rather than sitting around popping Valium, worrying about the future and feeling sorry for herself, she proactively transformed her life. By the time she retired, she had an impressive position in Human Resources in a large Lancaster County company.
|My mom with some of the family. May '09|
(Millersville University. Sculpture by my sister, Tina Haatainen Jones)
In the past couple of years, she's had some health problems. But each time, she's risen above them and bounced back. Just a couple of months shy of her 84th birthday, she had her left knee replaced. That was in November. She is now able to walk up steps without a problem. I'm impressed. So are the doctors. They attribute it to her taking water aerobics and staying active.
Oh, and she quit smoking after 60-some years. How about that? Cold turkey. No drugs, no programs, just will power. After all, she's quite bullheaded.
|Gene and Danny|
A voracious reader, my mother also attacks crossword puzzles with a vengeance, is tough to beat when playing Scrabble, Bananagrams or Boggle, and enjoys a competitive game of Pinochle. Her hospitality skills are unmatched and she can cook up a meal for a crowd or make an intimate dinner seem special for anyone lucky enough to be a guest in her home.
|Mom and Laura|
I would like to say, yes, I am becoming my mother. Perhaps that would be the greatest compliment someone could pay me.
Indeed, we are very much alike. But there are differences as well. While she opted for a corporate life, I choose to exercise my creative talents and work for myself. Despite being widowed at 32, I decided to stay home and raise my girls and not pursue a career until they were grown. I am passionate about causes I believe in, and they are not necessarily causes Mom even agrees with. I chose to remarry rather quickly after my husband died, much to my family's dismay at the time.
We often choose different routes than our parents. However, when there is a quality worth mimicking, how wonderful is it when we can actually do just that?
I'm thankful for a mother who taught me about strength. Who gave me a hunger for knowledge. Who never wanted me to settle for less than what I was capable of.
Are you becoming your mother? Or your father? Is that a good thing?
As children, it is our privilege to glean the good from our heritage. As parents, it is our responsibility to pass on outstanding traits to our children. My hope is that someday my daughters will look at themselves and say, "I'm becoming my mother," and they'll smile.
Sharing more of my life with you, my friends,