These days, Moms are wearing many hats. Not that we haven’t always, but in the last couple of months we added a few more that we weren’t expecting, like “teacher.” I will be the first to say that I have a deeper respect for all of the teachers out there, you do a job that most wouldn’t. And now that we all are, we can all agree that your salary should be doubled.
I was blessed with two very strong, very different mother figures in my life. My mother, who has worked tirelessly on the front line as a registered nurse during the coronavirus pandemic, has truly earned the title “hero” for all of the work that she and all those in the medical field have done. This week, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flew over many hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, saluting all of the frontline workers, and it truly was a sight to see. I know the videos I’ve seen don’t do it justice, but what an incredible honor to receive. I wrote about my Mom last year on Mother’s Day, so I thought I would write about the other woman who made me who I am today.
My grandmother, whom I have spoken about before, was a tremendous guiding light in my life. Not many people can call their grandmother their best friend, but she was mine. I didn’t always know it, but she was my strongest supporter and biggest critic all at the same time. She didn’t always have an easy life. She was born in 1938, suffered the loss of her infant baby sister, was diagnosed with polio as a child, and endured many years of treatment including for an iron lung.
She met my grandfather in college. They would marry and settle into military life until he was called away to the Vietnam War, where he served three tours and was injured on his final deployment. During his time away at war, she raised three young children and obtained her teaching degree, all while upholding the traditions of being an officer’s wife.
There isn’t a childhood memory that does not include my grandmother. Even as I got older, moved away to college, married and started a family of my own, I still called my grandparents every week. I always spoke with my grandmother on the phone first, and then when it was my grandfather’s turn, she would yell “Paul, pick up the phone. It’s your favorite granddaughter!” That was a nickname I dubbed myself early in life, which they always entertained, seeing as I was their only granddaughter.
Losing my grandmother in 2014 was especially difficult, but I realized that she had been preparing me for the role to take on as leader of our family for my entire life. I will always be thankful for the many life lessons she gave me, the love of sunsets and musicals she passed on, and the privilege to carry on her legacy while carrying her name.
From all of us here at the Gazette, Happy Mother’s Day. Enjoy the day, you’ve earned it!