My Mom is one of the strongest women I know.
She was born on October 7, 1942 in Regina, Saskatchewan, the second oldest of 5. Her Mom (my Nee Nee) worked at the Army & Navy, a swimming instructor & was a Commissioner in the Girl Guides where she got to meet Queen Elizabeth in the 1950’s. Her Dad (my Pop Pop) was a musician, he played any instrument he picked up – his favourite was a C-Melody Saxophone but he made his living, as a mechanic, working on cars.
Their family made the long trek from Regina, SK to Victoria, BC in 1948 – my Mom was 6 years old.
My Mom married her high school sweetheart in 1962. (The photo at the very top is from her High School Graduation.) This man quickly proved to be a very abusive husband. Within the first 2 years of their marriage they had 2 daughters. He was a heavy drinker (an alcoholic) and hit her often. Her father-in-law shoved her to the ground and called her names. More than this happened to her but it’s not for public consumption. The last straw was one night when her husband sat on her and smacked her face repeatedly – she took the 2 girls and fled to her sister’s house the next day. My older sisters were 3 and 4 years old.
For years she held it against herself for the failure of her first marriage. She felt guilty for allowing her daughters to witness such abuse and guilty for the decisions in life she made thereafter as a single parent.
In 1971 she met my father, her “Knight in Shining Armor” as she affectionately calls him.
They met in Gastown, BC and were married 8 weeks later! My Mom says that when they saw each other across the parking lot, she had an “out of body experience”! They were the only two people in the world. My older sisters were 7 & 8 years old by this point.
It was then, she says, after marrying my Dad, that the healing began. 11 months after they were married I was born and 21 months after me… my younger sister, La La arrived. My Mom was determined that in this marriage she wasn’t going to experience those same “failures” that haunted her 20’s ever again.
That determination has made her the strongest woman I know.
My parents went through major things when I was growing up. I witnessed marital stresses, huge financial pressures, failed businesses, broken friendships and giant disappointments – in it all she stood strong and faced the storm head-on. I’m sure she’d tell you she only had the appearance of things being OK but to us as children – she was our protector and a fierce one at that! Our world didn’t come crashing down around us, financially it may have, but she never allowed it to directly effect us, as best as she could.
She taught me how to stretch a dollar, to open my home to those who need shelter, not to hold on too tightly to “stuff”, to always be ready to give to others, to make time for family, to cook, to sew, to knit, to work hard, to love God and to love myself, to take care of my body and to dress well…
She taught me everything I know.
Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life and hers. What first caught my eye was that she and I share the same birthday (years apart), but your story of how she was your protector throughout lifes struggles, reminded me of what I am trying to do for my family. Thank your mother for being a great role model for all.