Friday, December 28, 2007

My Mother.... Moja Mama ....

I was nine months old when my mother sent my father to the United States for an extra income. He was gone for a year. Even though we lived in Communist Poland, she dreamt about French laced dresses and a designer German nursery for me. She wanted to set aside money for my education at the Sorbonne or Oxford. She had great plans for our future and envisioned a better life.

I was Fifi's age, when she bundled me up in the midst of Poland's harsh winter and pushed me through the city and waited in line, with her ration tickets, for meat and bread. She waited in long lines right after lunch in order to secure our dinner for the same evening. She did this every other day for the years we lived in Poland.

My father returned on a Sunday and my sister was conceived on a Monday. My mother kept the money my father sent and single handling changed our future. She wanted to be in America. Many people were fleeing to England, South Africa, Germany, Argentina around us but my mother felt strongly about America.

With pregnancy hormones raging she announced that once her second child was born we would be escaping the only country she has ever know. Her language. Her family. Her culture. Her everything would be left behind for our future ahead.

When my sister was born the plans were made. We would stay in Austria and wait for our visas. One summer night, my mother dressed my infant sister and me up in layers upon layers of clothes and shoved us in the back of their Fiat. Luggage would be too suspicious at the border, for the borders were frozen and people only allowed to leave for a day.

I can't imagine what my mom must have been thinking as we drove away from her beloved Poland that night. I can't imagine that she slept that night, as she held her two girls in her arms in the back seat of the Fiat. I can't imagine how she felt leaving behind an apartment full of material possessions, a family full of people she loved, and a culture that she was born into and familiar with.

Mama. Kochana Mamusia. You are the most amazing woman. An incredible mother. A wonderfully compassionate friend.

I love you.

Even when you sent me to the first grade in Chicago with toilet paper instead of the "tissue paper" the class list advised.

Even when you sent me to junior high with a goose liver sandwich that smelled up the entire cafeteria.

Even though you called my high school on Senior Ditch day during each class period to check my attendance because you couldn't understand that American kids actually ditched school.

Your tears and sweat created a legacy. I wish to be half the mother that you are and would be so proud of the job that I have done. Mamusia... Happy Birthday! I love you so much Mama.

28classy comments:

Kash said...

That was beautiful! You said it all as best as one can describe. One can't measure her amount of love nor effort in raising us. Our mom is one of a kind....the only way I can describe it in one word is...Karwowska!

Rachel said...

That was so sweet.
What an amazing mom, and what an amazing woman you are, too. To see all that she did and appreciate it.
What a beautiful tribute to both of you.

Melissa said...

Wow, that was a great post. Can you imagine all of the things your mom must have been feeling, not to mention all the things she had to deal with to get you guys here?

I was wondering when you mentioned about being Polish if you had lived in the Chicagoland area (we have a large Polish population here).
Happy Birthday Moja Mama!

Stella said...

Incredible. Absolutely Incredible.

Kellan said...

"My mother kept the money my father sent and single handling changed our future." - this is the point at which I began to tear up and by the end I was crying - filled with such happiness for the perfect ending to the most wonderful story ever!!! Happy Birthday to your precious Mother - she is something else - as her very talented, beautiful and sweet daughter. You should both be very proud of each other! Kellan

Don Mills Diva said...

What a wonderful tribute to your mom - you are a lucky woman to have such a role model.

suchsimplepleasures said...

that was such a nice tribute to your mommy! how scary and selfless to leave everything you know, to go to a totally different country...for your children! that's an amazing story!
happy birthday!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

This is beautiful. Just beautiful.

Cecily R said...

Wow. What a great woman. What a great example for you and your kids. What a great daughter she has to write such a beautiful tribute to her.

Sue said...

Awww, how wonderful. Happy Birthday to your Mother!!!

the dragonfly said...

That is an amazing story...about an amazing woman!

Karen said...

Wow. Happy Birthday to your mom from all of us! She sounds like a strong, amazing woman that we should all emulate!!

Jayro said...

That is the love of a mother. May God bless her with a wonderful birthday and many more years of happiness and health.

chickadee said...

that is an amazing story. what a woman.

Msslaydbug said...

Happy Birthday to your mother. I really enjoyed reading it.

Amy said...

Awesome!! Your mother sounds like an amazing and strong woman, you are so lucky to have her!

Kelly said...

No wonder you are such a strong, passionate, powerful women. You had the most amazing model in your mother. That post was beautiful, truly, deeply, beautiful.
Happy Birthday to your Mother!

Stephanie said...

Wow, as I read this, I tried to put myself in her shoes. I don't know what kind of material possessions she left behind. I was thinking about having to leave behind pictures of family, of my children's birth, friends. Of leaving all the things we had worked so hard for. While that wouldn't be the important part, it must have been so hard to let go and I'm sure she mourned the loss of those things exponentially.

Your mother is the kind of woman who should write a book or a memoir. Families like your fascinate me. I'm from a small town where people never get out and explore the world and are happy in their little corners. I moved two hours away to a bigger city where I could have the freedom to do the things I dreamed of as a young girl. That move, when I got married was scarier than ever for me. And that was only 2 hours, I can't IMAGINE how your mother must have felt coming to a whole new world.

But remember, it was you and your sister who gave her the courage to leave, because she saw bigger opportunities for you all here. Courage like that is immeasurable. My mom often tells me it was me who gave her the courage to leave my abusive father. Now that I have kids, I can understand the protectiveness of your mother (and mine). Congratulations on coming to America.

What a wonderful life we all live here!

suchsimplepleasures said...

oh...you haven't seen that meme before? well then...consider yourself tagged...bwahahahaha! er...enjoy it!

Casey's trio said...

I stumbled upon you..maybe from Cecily's blog, and just wanted to say hello. I love this post. What a nice tribute to your mom:)

Lisa said...

Beautiful! I hope that your mom reads this!!! I can't imagine doing what she did...what an amazing lady she must be!

I found you through Crystal's blog! Happy New Year!

moosh in indy. said...

HOLY CRAP.
Happy Birthday mom.
You're the stuff legends are made of.

MarlaQuack said...

Nice Blog!
Happy Birthday to your Mom!

Kathryn said...

What a gorgeous tribute to your mama. Just beautiful. Such an amazing woman.
Happy Birthday, mama!

Jessica said...

What a beautiful post!

wornoutwoman said...

This is the sweetest thing I've ever read! God bless your mom for her bravery, wisdom, and strength. I'm so glad you all are here now in the US living your life. This is such a touching post.

Victoria said...

What can I add? Soo beautiful. Hers is an amazing story. Thank you for sharing her with us.

MamaWise said...

Oh my god, I just cried. Your mom looks exactly like mine. I should send you a picture.

 

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