(This post was part of the 103rd Carnival of Genealogy, hosted by Jasia at CreativeGene)
This blog is all about looking to the past. Lately I’ve been consumed by it: Chasing faint trails across a sea of distance and an ocean of lost memories. I’m thankful that I have the time and resources to pursue this passion, and I’m thankful that technology has bounded forward in immeasurably large steps during my lifetime, giving us unprecedented access to original records and making possible the kind of research that could once be done only at a snail’s pace with pen and paper.
Today though, I’ve been hanging around in the present where, more than just about anything, I’m thankful for the presence of my Mother, who isn’t as close in distance as I’d like her to be, but close in spirit and always just a phone call away.
Mum was born in England. And she probably would have lived her whole life there, were it not for catching the eye of a handsome, young United States serviceman stationed at an American Air Force base near Mum’s home in the early 1960s. Dad’s tour ended during the third year of their marriage, and so it was that one cool March morning, my 24 year old mother, with her entire wardrobe and what few personal items she could fit into a suitcase, left all that she knew to follow her new husband and one year old child (that would be me!!) to his home in America.
It’s difficult to imagine, in this age of the Internet, cellphones, and Skype, how hard that move must have been for her. Transatlantic calls were prohibitively expensive and reserved for holidays, so Mum had to rely on a weekly handwritten letter to connect with her parents. Mum got those letters in the mail for years. You probably remember the kind – crinkly thin, nearly translucent, blue airmail stationery, every square inch filled with news of home and family 3,000 miles too far away. I remember clearly, sitting at the kitchen table as a young girl, waiting for Mum to finish the letter so I could read it also. Grannie’s handwriting was so distinctive, and so decidedly British. Why did we not save those letters????????
Mum found herself immediately immersed in my father’s family, as they lived with his parents while Grampie and Dad built our house, just a few steps away from theirs through the woods. I adore my grandparents, but it can’t have been an easy transition, an easy year… Eventually our house was ready, and we moved through the woods into our new home. It is, incidentally, the house my parents are still living today. Mum raised three daughters in that house ( and yeah, it had one bathroom, and with three girls, it was always a thrash to get in there. poor Dad!)
I had a great childhood, largely due to Mum’s love, laughter, and amazing tolerance and patience. I am sure my sisters would agree that there is no one on earth who has more belief and faith in us. (Well, Dad’s right up there too!) Before we knew it, she was sending us off to college, to learn to be independent, productive women, just as she was, only she managed to do it without a college education. Mum worked odd shifts when we were little so she that could always be there when we needed her to be, and somehow a family dinner was always on the table at 5 o’clock sharp. And yes, she IS a wonderful cook, so no one ever wanted to miss a meal in our house! Later on, Mum got a job in a bank, working her way up the chain to Customer Service manager. It was the perfect job for her, and the bank and the customers hated to see her retire. The thing was though, Mum needed more time to be able to visit her grandchildren And that next generation definitely feels the love and affection which my sisters and I took for granted. I remind them all the time that they are blessed to have her and my father in their lives as much as they are.
My sisters and I did grow into strong, independent women, with good careers and loving husbands, and families who have remained close to each other and Mum and Dad, despite us living in three different states. Mum is the glue that holds us together, and we all know that. I doubt, however, that any one of us tells her that often enough. Actually, have we ever? But for Mum, it’s never been about accolades, just about the love. So here Mum, is a BIG thank you, out there on the World Wide Web, for all the world to see!!
(Thankful Thursday is a blogging series hosted by geneabloggers.com)