Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Lessons in Being a Mother from my Tia Eduarda

This morning I learned that my beautiful Tia Eduarda passed away in her home of Rhode Island.  I didn’t have an opportunity to see her in the last few years, but my sadness that she has passed is great.  I cried the whole way into the office today thinking about her, the lessons she leaves me, and how special she was.  For all of you who knew her, and those of you who did not, here are my lessons from Tia Eduarda.

She was a single mother.  Not just a single mother but a mother who gave up everything that she knew in her small home in the Azores to take a risk and move to the United States to give her son the benefit of an education and a better life.  I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to move to a country where she did not speak the language nor have an option at any kind of work other than whatever she was lucky enough to have come her way.  And she did it all in order to give someone she loved more than she was able to have.  As a single mother myself, I’m blessed with a good job and an education, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to do what I have to do without those benefits.  But she did it, and for that she is one of my hero’s.

Her son was her entire world; we used to laugh and not understand when she would become completely insane with fear when he was  a few minutes late.  Today I understand.  I have my own sons, and as a single mother I’m painfully aware that these boys are what I have.  They are my life and my legacy and raising them right, raising them to be strong men is the ultimate goal.  I’m not at a point where they are out until all hours and not letting me know where they are, but I can anticipate that this lies ahead for me.  And now I understand.  I understand her fear, it was a mothers fear based on love, and today I know what I didn't know then, a mothers love is most irrational.

Her son, my cousin Joe, grew into a good man (hi Joe) and has a beautiful family of his own now; so I guess she did what she had to do to give him what he has now.  And as a mother, I am certain that she had no regrets for any of the risks she took moving to a strange country, any of the ranting, any of the worrying, but most definitely no regrets for all the loving.
I’m going to always picture Tia Eduarda my favourite way to think of her; screaming out the doorway of her New York Avenue home at Debbie “Debbie, tell your mother I need a cup of sugar” (hey, Hi Debbie).  I hope tonight Tia is looking at my own little family and I hope that she’s as proud of my work as a single mother as I am proud of hers.

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