Friday, May 6, 2011

Best. Mom. Ever.

The photo above was taken a year ago in April. Mom and her three sons. That’s me, standing behind mom, with my younger brothers flanking her: Patrick to the left of the photo, Michael to the right. Good Irish names: Timothy, Patrick, and Michael. We have three sisters, Lynn, Mary, and Erin. That’s right, mom (and dad, God rest his soul) raised six kids.

Mom was born Pauline Mary Samer in Oshkosh in 1927, so she’ll be 84 in December. She met my dad, William James Morrissey, in 1947, shortly after dad and General Patton had just won the big war. It was at a dance at a pavilion in Oshkosh that doesn’t exist any more. When they started to talk seriously about marriage, mom took dad home to meet her mother. Grandpa Samer had already passed on, and that’s a long story for another time. Mom’s older sister, my late Aunt Virginia, had set the table with the Samer’s finest plates and cutlery in anticipation of dinner to meet Pauline’s beau.

At that introductory dinner, dad was paraded into the dining room to see the gorgeous table-setting, and then Aunt Virginia said to grandma “there- he’s seen it; he knows we’ve got fine china and good silverware; now I’m going to put it away and set our regular dishes because I’ll be damned if I’ll wash all this stuff.” Mom was, of course, mortified, but Aunt Virginia’s straightforwardness charmed him, and dad loved to tell the story.

Mom and dad got married on dad’s 24th birthday, June 5th of 1948, and I was born a year later, May 31st of 1949. Mom’s physician, Dr. Wagner, had told her she’d never have children. I was the first of six.

Mom was 21 when I was born, and was constantly scared she’d “do the wrong things” with me. She had all the Dr. Spock baby books you could buy, and constantly sought advice from her mother and my dad’s mother. She needn’t have worried. She was the best mom a kid could ever have.

I’ve thanked her countless times for constantly reading to me when I was a child, giving me a lifelong love for words and writing and reading. She gave me love, guidance, discipline, patience, support, and continues to this day to be a loving and concerned parent and grandparent. I hope some day my kids will say the same about me, because whatever I learned in that department I learned from mom.

Pauline Mary Helen Samer Morrissey. Best. Mom. Ever. Happy Mother’s Day.

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