After two grueling hours on the phone, I took a break and hopped in my Dodge and started the drive to Starbucks, anxious to get the caffeine high that has to carry me through another day. As the sound of Glen Millers "Moonlight Serenade" played on the satellite radio my thoughts turned to a night many years ago when I danced with my mom.
Mom loved the "Big Bands". Glenn Miller and Frank Sinatra were two of her favorites. She was 5'1" and 90 lbs. Fully clothed. Though Small in stature, she was one of the strongest people I have ever known. Her courage has inspired me throughout my life.
Born in the midst of the Great Depression, she grew into a beautiful woman, married her high school sweetheart and raised 5 boys. She devoted her life to her god and her family.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer while dad was trying to survive a series of 6 heart attacks in two years that eventually took his life. Barely recovered at age 40, she moved the family from Alaska back to Utah, to be near family and friends . Needing money to survive and support her family, she returned to the workforce at age 41. Having no job skills, her starting salary was minimum wage (1.50 Hr.) at Kmart in the fabric department.
She could have complained at the lack of life insurance (Dad’s policy was just a few weeks short of becoming effective that would have assured her some financial security) But she never did. She could have asked for a handout but wouldn't Working full time and taking advantage of Social Security Survivors benefits, she not only survived and raised her five sons, but made a vow to complete her college degree.
After several yrs of sweat and toil, she obtained a custodial job at Brigham Young University. Not much better pay, but, a job with health insurance for her family and more importantly, educational benefits. He had always wanted to be a school teacher and at age 45 she was about to make that dream come true.
Year after year she worked tirelessly at a thankless job, yet somehow, class after class was completed. She graduated after 10 years with honors and obtained a job teaching at an elementary school. Her days were very busy yet she never missed a track or wrestling meet. This often resulted in not completing House work that needed to be done, but, it was more important to her to spend time with one of her 5 boys.
I remember teaching mom the "hustle" in my teens . Family was always the most important thing in her life. I do not know how she did it. Unfortunately the breast cancer returned and she passed away at age 58.
As I waited in the long line to place my order, I had an Epiphany. I noticed a young mother with one babe in arms, a toddler and another one on the way. She was the size of my daughter Kristen...who is the same size as my mom.
It is an amazing thing to see the love of a mother for her children. Without skipping a beat, she was cleaning the toddlers face, gently swaying the baby in her other arm and ordering a "Grande decaf skinny caramel machiato"....amazing...women really can multitask.
My mom could as well. So can my daughters, my wife and the many Moms who are my friends.
So do people I pass in the mall, the street or the airport, appreciate the sacrifice their mom made to give Them the life they live?" I wonder
When I hear any of the Big bands...I think a calm nights long ago dancing with my mom. Now you know why I love the big bands and "the Voice", Frank Sinatra. A art of me will always be lost in memories. Priceless time spent dancing with my mother and remembering the her courage and strength in life.