Early this morning, looking up at a still crystal clear night sky undimmed by a hint of mornings I remembered that today would have been my mother Naomi’s 96th birthday. I suddenly felt small and alone as I wondered what she have might have thought when she looked up at these same stars so many years ago.
I have wondered how my understanding of the way she approached her life would have been different in light of my adult experience. What must have been like to lose your mother at six, to be dropped off at her grandparents by a father that was absent for most of her young life. To be raised during the depression with children from other families whose parents couldn’t feed them. To be followed closely by five years of uncertainty in a world gripped by war.
Growing up I certainly never gave her credit for simply having survived but such experiences must have been a major component of the woman she became. I remember always being frustrated by what I thought was her timidity. Now I see that not only was she was incredibly resilient in the face of circumstances that would have crushed others, she persevered.
I will never forget finding out that in 1941 she agreed to travel with my uncle to Pensacola, Florida in the sidecar of a motorcycle. A trip in excess of 1200 miles, on two lane roads, sleeping in rest areas. To see my father who was stationed there in the Navy. A trip I wouldn’t take even today.
So here’s to you mom, it’s hard to believe that you’ve been gone ten years now. There are so many conversations that I wish we had had. I hope you can see me now, I miss you every day.
I have always wondered where I found the courage to transition, but I think I know now.