Today is my Mother's birthday. I honor this day along with my Father's birthday, December 18th. Of course, one honors one's parents, but in our case we were like fellow travelers in life, intent to discover and make meaning of our lives. They were always introducing me to new things, long after I had left home, and I was also sharing books, films, poems, and ideas.
I have blogged about my Mother's visit to New York. It was the last time that I spent significant time with her.
She grew up in the wilds of Missouri and Oklahoma. Her father was struck by lightning when she was about two. It was a large family, as her mother continued to have children with her second husband. I don't really know how many children were in the family, but there were at least ten, maybe more than a dozen. There were so many children that my mother would forage for food and sleep under the stars. There simply was no room and no resources in the home. As it turned out, she was raised mostly by neighbors who lived several doors down from the family.
Growing up she lived somewhat wild and untamed . Schools at that time put all ages in one room, but Mother could not be corralled and confined. Instead she would climb on top of the school house and stomp on the roof. When they searched for her, she would spend the night in a cistern in water up to her neck.
She often wondered how she ever survived that time. Living with my Father, she had a volatile temper, but he knew how to calm her. But she and I had many violent clashes. However, after I left home, she mellowed, and traveled a lot with my Father. They built a get away home in the Ozark Mountains which became my destination every summer. With his influence she read philosophy and books expressing religious ideas. Her thinking had always revealed a deep curiosity and wonder of life. Now this part of her matured and deepened. I still have a few books of hers where she wrote comments and questions in the margins.
Somehow she had been able to emerge into the fullness of herself...into a thinker and reader who celebrated life, I remember her commenting one time shortly after my Father had passed away, "It took me a lifetime to grow up..."
So I celebrate this day... knowing that somehow she is continuing her journey of growing into the fullness of her being.