13 Things You Should Know About My Mom

Me and My Parents
We were just a little family back then, me and my parents

May 11, 2014 – Originally posted 3 years ago, just made a few edits to bring it up to date.

1) If you know my mom, this is NOT news. But, if you don’t … Get this! My Mom is not only MY mom, but she is Mom to my twelve younger brothers and sisters. That’s right; I am the oldest of 13 children! My mom gave birth to 13 children. 13 personalities, 13 opinions, 13 voices trying to be heard over one another, and 26 hands trying to grab the last cookie for dessert. Now that I’m a mom, all I can say is, “WOW!”

2) My mom has 26 grandchildren, and counting! The oldest is just shy of 19, and the youngest just 4 months old. They’re scattered about every corner of the country, from New England to Georgia, Colorado, California and Washington.

The oldest four
The oldest four. As our family got bigger, we were simply “The Big Kids”

3) She was a stay-at-home Mom for a decade, until she started working part-time when I was 10 or 11. When I was in high school, after my youngest sister was born, she started working full-time in sales. My youngest brothers and sisters only remember her as a “working-mom.” Imagine trying to find reliable daycare for our crew!

4) My Mom’s father died suddenly when she was only 10. He also left behind Mom’s older and younger sister, and my grandmother. His death deeply affected all of them and shaped the different paths their lives took. I’ve never heard anything but kind things about my grandfather, in fact we and our cousins have come to affectionately refer to him as “The Saint.”

5) My mom is strikingly beautiful, like a chestnut-eyed version of Liz Taylor. I never saw her in anything but high-heels until I was in high school. She has NEVER left the house without applying her makeup, even for a trip to ‘Labor & Delivery’ in the wee hours of the morning. (I did not inherit my mother’s fashion-forward sensibilities, her taste for high heels, or her skill at applying mascara.)

6) My mom loves her children unconditionally. Not one of us would claim otherwise or think, even for a moment, that she would favor one of us over another. This is true no matter how we might disappoint her, frustrate her, or take her for granted. She has a unique and special relationship with each of us. We all share her, and lay claim to her. Amazingly none of us has ever exhibited any rivalry for her affection. When we are with our Mom, I think each of us feels like an only child.

The Whole Family
The Whole Family – Easter 1986

7) My mom’s greatest fear was realized 19 years ago when my Dad passed away after a long battle with cancer. She mourned not only the love of her life; she also mourned the loss of her children’s father. My youngest sister and brother were 9 and 10, respectively. She understood their loss like no one else could.

8 ) My mom is resilient. After my dad’s death, she focused on her children. She spent some time at home, but with bills to pay, she embarked on a new career. Then, for the first time in decades (with the help of a little red wine and Xanax) she got on a plane, to visit her sister in California. Good thing she got over that flying thing, or she’d miss out on seeing all those grandkids!

9) My mother loves Champagne, Chardonnay, and the occasional margarita, but claims to have never been drunk. Hmm, I wonder.

10) My mom has a lovely singing voice. We grew up listening to her sing melodies from The South Pacific and Oklahoma while she picked up our toys, and dusted the furniture. She is inherently shy, but more than once, I have witnessed her spontaneously belt out a tune at a piano bar or sing to a full gymnasium at the church variety show.

11) My mom is a great cook (though she would usually prefer to dine at a 5-star bistro). With so many mouths to feed, you might think that our dinners were a steady regimen of pasta and sauce, but no. My mom always tried to add a touch of “gourmet” to our meals. For instance, corned beef and cabbage was not simply a boiled dinner, she always served it with a fancy mustard sauce, Dijon potatoes with pearl onions.

12) My mother’s faith runs deep. Despite losing her father, her husband, and struggling financially for much of her life, she has always retained the ability to love, forgive, and to smile.

My Mom and her soon-to-be Husband

13) In August 2011, my mom remarried. In her new husband she has found a wonderful companion who shares her interests, her faith. With children and grandchildren of his own, our family is that much bigger and perhaps a little bit louder.



9 thoughts on “13 Things You Should Know About My Mom

  1. Maura Donnelly

    Had a hard time getting through it without getting choked up, but that just goes to show how much I loved it!
    This is so beautiful, Mary and I’m sure Mom will be touched beyond belief.
    Good job!

  2. Pingback: Celebrating My 100th Post « Odds 'N Ends

  3. Pingback: A Mother’s Day Message

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