My Mother…My Inspiration…My Rock

screen-shot-2016-11-20-at-9-42-24-pmThis post is dedicated to my Mother, Isabelle.  My Inspiration. My Rock. My greatest fan. A woman that loves me Minces to Pinces… as she still tells me today. She tells me she can’t love me anymore because it hurts. I understand this sentiment now being a Mom.  I’ve been doing so much reflection lately, as I’m turning 50 years old in 10 days!!! I still can’t believe this milestone in my life is coming upon me. I want to tell you about Izzy, aka, Grandma Izzy…because the strong, independent woman that I am today is only because of her. The way she loved me when I was a little shit, when I pushed her away for many years for reasons that I still grapple with, the way she persevered as a single mom herself and survived…I have always been her number one priority. I am humbled…

It wasn’t always easy…Can you imagine letting your 4th grade child come home with a key around their neck…That was me; a Latch Key Kid. My mom worked as a banker and wasn’t home when I came home. Not only did I let myself in, but I had to do all the laundry in the basement of our apartment complex. We would never do this today with our kids! But she had no choice. She made little money, but my Mom saved her money to take me to Disney World one year. I will never forget that trip. Partially because we saw a palmetto bug in our hotel room and demanded a room change! We New Yorkers had never seen such a sight. I still remember that to this day! But I remember that trip, the plane ride, and the memories of going wit her. I know it was hard for her…but I truly didn’t want for anything. There was a time before being a Latch-Key Kid that we lived in rent controlled housing in Newburgh, NY. I was the minority. It was pretty shady…There was an on-site day care where I went after school. I will never forget this one story…

Every day at the after school daycare at the housing complex, all the kids would play outside. There was this one girl that always made fun of me. I really don’t know why – again; I was the minority. She would tell me she was going to beat me up every day. And everyday I would cry to my Mom about this girl. This one day my Mom got off work earlier than normal and she saw me on the playground. I screamed and pointed, “MOMMY, there’s the girl that is going to beat me up!” In true Izzy fashion, she comes over to the playground gate and calls the girl over, grabs her arm with one hand and points in the girls face with the other and says, “If you ever lay a hand on my daughter you are going to have to deal with me little girl! You got that?!”  Suffice it to say, she left me alone.

That is my mom…and those that know her…know she is amazing.

There has been hurt along the way…Mom was my best friend, I told her everything as a teen. More than she cared to know. But it was she and I – I was an only child. We had some rough patches after my Grandmother passed away…we both had struggles with her death in different ways and in some ways it caused a strain for us. She died the year I was engaged and over time Mom and I got back to normal. As my marriage evolved and my own family began to grow she eventually moved down here because she started having a few health issues. With me in Georgia and her in NY, it was too hard for both of us. So she ventured down to Georgia. Not an easy transition for her. But I became distant over the years…and I couldn’t tell her why. The memory of the way she protected me on the playground kept milling around and I couldn’t tell her that I was depressed and unhappy in my marriage. So rather than let her in, I gradually distanced myself. She would tell me that I wasn’t the same person anymore. It killed me to hear this, but I couldn’t burden her with my burden. Partially because if things did work out in my marriage, I didn’t want to taint her feelings toward my husband. When I finally told my Mom I was leaving my marriage, I confessed to her what I had been doing all along with my relationship with her. I’ll never forget what she said to me as long as I live:

“Stacey, why didn’t you tell me? I thought all this time you didn’t love me anymore.”

I cried my eyes out. I told her I didn’t want her to worry about me. I was so unhappy, and yes; I had changed and lost my joy. I didn’t want to let her in on my secret. I will always regret that I lost many memorable times with her. Not that we didn’t see one another, but the closeness was not there. But you know what, even during that time, my Mom continued to love me big…she is amazing.

Her unconditional love is unwavering…I am Jewish by birth. My entire family on my Mom and Dad’s side are practicing Jews. I grew up with this faith taught to me by my extended family; however  I never attended religious school because sadly that costs money so I couldn’t attend. I was married with a Rabbi and Minister and we brought together both faiths in a beautiful and tasteful ceremony. My wedding was the North meets the South…but it worked and was one of the best weddings I have ever attended…just saying! If you have never been to a Jewish wedding; go crash one! They are the best! Anyway; as an adult I began to believe otherwise. I began reading on my own and also attending church for my children. Over time, my heart believed in the Christian Faith and I did convert fully to Christianity in November 2000. I remember telling my Mom. She still lived in NY at the time. I remember the sadness in her voice. She said she felt like she lost a part of me. That was hard to hear, but that is how she felt. But in the next breath, she said, “Stacey you are my only child and I will love you no matter what.” Wow…she is amazing.

She is tenacious. She is a fighter…We call her the Bionic Grandma. Two fake knees, fake hip, and 1/3 of her back has a metal rod. She is the best to go to Disney with!  We get to the front of the lines and get the best seats! At the airport…front of the line! So there are some pluses to the Bionic Grandma! What isn’t so great is the chronic pain she lives with every day. Yet, she deals with it. She goes to plays, cruises, dinners, takes her grand daughters out to lunch, shops with them, and tries to attend what she can for their school activities. She doesn’t let her disabilities keep her down. She is like the Weebles…she wobbles but she won’t fall down! (If you don’t know a Weeble, that’s because you aren’t almost 50!)  She is true testament of determination, tenacity, and perseverance.  She is amazing.

My Mother. My inspiration. My Rock. She taught me to never rely on anyone financially; no matter what. That advice has been good advice – advice I never thought I would need to use. She has taught me never to settle…She frequently has to remind me that I am special and only someone worthy of me will get the honor of my true love as I venture in my new path of life. Most importantly, she has taught me the true meaning of unconditional love…Thank you Mom. You are amazing.

I love you Minces to Pinces.

Be Well and Be Blessed.

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