Sunday, May 13, 2018

Remembering my mother

Here she is with her squirmy toddler, circa 1948.

I feel a bit discordant posting this as she despised Mother's Day: "it's just something invented by the florists!"

I was very lucky in my relationship with my mother; few of my peers seem to have had it so easy. She simply unequivocally supported and loved me, even when I evolved into someone whose life and beliefs were unexpected. I loved her.

I think she would have said that raising me was her most significant accomplishment. Knowing that makes me a little wistful -- she was smart, competent, informed. In a time with different opportunities for women, she might well have had other, or additional, achievements.

I think too, if someone had asked her what else she was proud of in her life, she might have answered having been an active citizen of a country that defeated Hitler. (She wouldn't have instinctively given the Russian people the credit for this that I do, though I remember her explaining to me that she first had hope during World War II when the Nazis made the mistake of invading the USSR.) Most everyone of her generation felt they'd made a contribution to the war effort; she participated in aircraft monitoring in fields around Western New York. Though a person of the conventional right and no admirer of FDR, she left notebooks from the 1930s full of horror at what was rising up in Germany. She knew personally refugees from fascism. She had no truck with the America Firsters -- the domestic faction soft on fascism in her day -- who wanted to let Hitler conquer all of Europe rather than go to war.

She believed in engaged citizenship. I do too.

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