Dear Mom, I remember...
I remember my mother through four different periods of my life: My shared childhood, my time as an only child, my troubled years, and my manhood.
During my early childhood, I remember growing up with my brothers and sisters. I can remember my big wheel and how you could hear me coming down Gloria Avenue (You only had to call once). I remember the family around the kitchen table and how you would make us sit there until we either ate our food or threw it up in our plate. I remember sitting at the crayon table eating pretzel sticks while you served your customers at Stride Rite. I remember how nicely my lunchbox was packed. I remember Church in Myersville and the Sunday drives afterward to get ice cream. I remember how you came to my baseball games and cheered me on. I remember how you picked me up when I cried, dusted me off, kissed me and told me that everything would be ok. I remember how you stroked my hair to comfort me. I remember how you taught me to pray every night as you tucked me.
The second part of my life, I almost felt selfish, as I had you all to myself for many years. It was like I was an only child and didn't have to share you. I remember that every day, I would walk home from school in the snow to have lunch with you. You would have a liverwurst sandwich prepared, as I took off my moon boots. We would talk about school and then you would send me on my way. Don't be late, you would say. I remember the many trips we took exploring Europe and how you would teach me small phrases of your native language. I remember our many trips downtown Munich to shop. You would always take me to the fancy McDonalds for lunch because you knew it would make me happy. You came to all of my ball games and cheered me on. I remember that you took over my game console so you could dominate space invaders and Pacman (your favorite game). I remember how you said a prayer with me every night as you tucked me in.
Moving back to the States, I entered my troubled years as I call them. I strayed from your teachings and I found trouble. I didn't listen to you and sometimes I caused you grief. However, through all of that grief, you continued to love me. I remember how you cried on the phone and begged me to come home when I ran away. I remember how you would always tell me “You used to be such a good boy”. From these years, these are the memories that I have never forgotten. I know that you are looking down today knowing that I have always remembered your words and how they have come to shape me today as I grow older.
As I left home and entered the world, I always remembered your words and your teachings. When I strayed, something strange would always pull me back and correct me. Sometimes it took longer, but I always managed to remember the values that you instilled in me. It was these values that continued to shape me as a man. Although I was gone during most of these years, I remember our long phone conversations and how you always told me to be a good boy. Mom, I'll never forget those words and I do believe that without those words, my life could have taken a much different path. I want you to know that I am teaching my children the same values that you once taught me. My son prays with me at night; the same prayer that you once chanted with me. We eat at the table together and he is encouraged to finish before he can have fun. We take bike rides and spend as much time together as we can. I wipe his nose when it runs. When he falls, I brush him off, kiss him and tell him it will be ok. And most importantly, I always tell them that I love them, just as you did with me.
And finally, I will always remember tonight. Only you, Mom, could round up your six kids, all of whom have gone their separate ways and live their separate lives. All of whom have had their differences at some point, and some may still. Mom, I love them all, as you do. Sometimes we forget about the basic foundations of love, sharing and just plain being nice that you taught us when we were little. We forget when we are caught up in this busy world; working and raising families of our own. We forget too often about what you wanted every year, for us all to be together. Maybe, now, even though your words are not verbal, you are still teaching us as you watch down on us. You are teaching us that life is too short. Enjoy it. Share it. I might not wake up tomorrow to hug my Father, my brothers, my sisters, their families, or my new family. If I don't stay in touch and remind them that I love them, what does that say about me? More importantly, what does it say about what I learned from you?
You taught us quite a lot, Mom. I cannot speak for my brothers or sisters. But, I can only hope that they will take these words and use them to understand what you really wanted. You wanted us to all be together, and not fight. You wanted us to treat each other as we would want to be treated ourselves.
So at this time, I would like to join hands with my father, my brothers, my sisters, their families and my own. I would like to take this time to tell you that we will all take care of one another through the years, and we will make every effort to be together each year to join hands and share stories. Life is too short. And you would insist that we never forget what you taught us. I love you Mom!
Your baby, Timmy