This post first appeared on my blog in April of 2008 as a birthday tribute to my mother, Marianne. She is an inspiration to me on a daily basis. I go to her for advice and a shoulder to cry on. She is my best friend and I am blessed for it.
On Easter Sunday, April 13, 1941 in a little house in Detroit, Michigan, the Easter Bunny brought a special gift to a young immagrant amily. A little “bunny” named Marianne Therese. This beautiful bundle of joy grew up to me my mother. She is the second daughter of German Immigrants who fled Germany between the First and Second World Wars. She was a precocious youngster who loved to watch Roy Rogers movies and listen to “The Green Hornet” and “The Shadow” on the radio. She was an excellent student, something I definately did not inherit from her.
After 12 years of Catholic schooling, she went on to graduate from College and pursue a unique choice of career at the time, Naval Officer. My Mom tells the tale that she was going to be the First Female Admiral. She never felt called to marry or have children. She was going to see the world and have great adventures. Little did she know just what those adventures would be. Oh, the plans God has for us!. She was stationed in Japan in 1965 when she met a dashing young Naval Officer who when he first saw her, was speechless. Knowing my Dad, that was a BIG deal. He was at Sunday Mass and knew that he had to get to know this “beautiful Catholic woman”. They married several months later. He wanted to have a large family and she said yes.
Together they raised eight children, six boys and two girls. Believe me when I say, I grew up in a lively household! I was not an easy child. Very high energy and full of “spunk” as mother would tell you. I gave my parents a run for their money in junior high and high school. I spent many an hour in the principals office or in detention. I just didn’t like to follow the rules, when my way was so much better. God Bless my mother, who through every humiliation only a child can provide, loved me and never gave up. She was and is a constant source of love and support in my life.
I remember in high school going to dinner, just the two of us. This was such a treat, and I felt privileged to have her all to myself. She just wanted to make sure things were going well for me. She was “checking in”. She told me that she never wanted me to feel like I couldn’t talk to her, no matter what was going on in life. I should always know the “nothing I did or said would ever make her stop loving me”. I will never forget that day, because I knew that I was loved no matter what. For an impressionable 17 year old who was just trying to find her way, that was HUGE!
I watched over the years as my parents devoted their lives to raising and educating the eight of us. Their love for each other was intense and wonderful to watch. They were silly and serious. They would argue then gross us out as the made up. My father was the “passionate’ one, but mother was my constant. Always there with a word of comfort or encouragement, a stern look or a new creative punishment when she ran out of the standards. She was and is the backbone of our family. She is the Admiral of our Navy.
Seven years ago I watched as my mother pray her beloved into the arms of Christ. There are no words that will ever give justice to the image of my mother on her knees kissing my father for the last time as God carried him home. She immediately began to pray the rosary for his soul and her children knelt and prayed it with her. It is a moment I will never forget as long as I live. What a witness to love and commitment they were to me that day. “Til death do us part” took on new meaning for me. What’s interesting though, is that they may not be together here on earth, but they are still linked by heart and soul.
My mother has held me in her arms as I wept when Courtney’s diagnosis was made. She has taught me everything I know about how to be a good Catholic wife and mother. She welcomed Jerry into the family 20 years ago and has treated him as one of her “sons” since that day. She has held her granddaughter and rocked her through a seizure. She has played T-ball with Jonathan and taught him how to play “Clue”.
Happy Birthday Mom!
I love you!
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