Mother's Day is right around the corner and it always make me stop to think about Mom and what she has given me in my life. Growing up, it was mom who was the disciplinarian (Dad worked 3 jobs at times, so he was not home). She is the one who stood up for us when teachers were not being fair. I remember in 3rd grade my mom going to school to complain about my handwriting grade. I was a bit of a perfectionist back then, and always worked towards getting straight A's every year. I had gotten a B, but none of the papers I brought home had been less than A's. I was rather upset about this, so Mom took it up with the teacher - sure enough, she had made a mistake and had transposed my grade with some other student's.
Don't get me wrong, Mom was not one of those moms who thought her children were always right, she just believed that it was her job to support us in our decisions. If we made bad choices, she let us fall on our faces if need be so we could learn important life lessons. School science fair projects were our responsibility - she did not help us with them (unless it meant driving to the library). If we procrastinated, we faced the consequences. My brother was always well aware of these...he spent many a last minute finishing a project. He still had to do house chores and responsibilities, after all, it was not the family's fault that he did not budget his time and the garbage still had to go out, dishes still needed to be done, etc.
She taught us to take responsibility, that if we saw something that was not right, instead of complaining we needed to step and make the change. When we were younger, the street I lived on was often used as a shortcut for city trucks to go to the landfill. They would go 40mph on a street that had a 20 mph speed limit, a street that was a rural road, it was narrow, had hairpin curves, and many children played on it. No trucks were supposed to use this road, but they were and nothing was being done about it since the truckers were in cahoots with the mayor.
So, mom took action. She circulated a petition to get our street closed to nonresidential traffic, she called the local press and staged a protest. The protest consisted mainly of my mom, we children and a few neighbors. It got some attention and the ball rolling. Yet things stalled and dragged on for years. Mom never gave up, and after years of complaining, they finally closed the road to trucks. Perseverance.....something she taught us and demonstrated to us.