Getting to know my Mom.
She was a very smart woman, who loved reading and learning. Dean Koontz was one of her favorite authors, but she could get caught up in any good thriller. A favorite pastime of hers was doing cross-word puzzles. She could spend hours working on them. Don't even get her started on those "Word Jumble" games, you would never see her for days!
She always enjoyed music. Everything from Oldies but Goodies to Celine Dion to Motley Crue. Her favorite band in the world was Bon Jovi. I remember the time she and my aunt went up to Jacksonville for a show, they missed the exit and ended up in Georgia. They missed the opening act, Skid Row, but got there just in time for the headliners.
She introduced me to music at an early age. I remember just hopping in the car with her, destination unknown, with a car full of tunes and talks.
One great thing about my Mom and I, is that we could talk about anything. I really sincerely mean anything. I knew no matter what went on in my life, she would be there in one way or another. She was not always in the best of health, so sometimes she could not actually be there, but I know in her heart she was.
She always had a good sense of humor, she could find comic relief during the hardest times.
I introduced her to her latest addiction, computers. She loved playing around on my machine at the house. So one Christmas, I built one for her. It was nothing fancy or super fast, but she just enjoyed the heck out of it. She enjoyed card games, so I found her a little game called "BoxCar's Casino", where she could bank cash and play Poker, Blackjack and the like. She spent hours in front of her computer, learning how to do things and just having a blast.
My Mom was never much for pets. She had a bird once, many moons ago. She never liked cats, just like me, until she met my cat Oreo. She just warmed right up to them from that day. Whenever I would go out of town for any length of time, she would happily stop by and take care of the cats, and end up sitting around with them for hours. She always liked Picasso, even though he was always very shy around her.
My Mom was, at heart, a very good person, who was stuck living a bum life. I hate to put it that way but it is true. She had a hard childhood with an abusive father, and as a result, had quite a hard time of things. Especially getting to know people, she had a hard time opening up to folks. But at the same time, whenever my friends from school would call for me, they would end up talking with her for hours. Like I said, she was really easy to talk to.
She was willing to sacrifice anything for me. I knew that she loved me unconditionally, even through the hard times. Like when she did not agree with my choice for a first wife, she wanted to speak up, but knew we would be better off if she just held it in. So she did. For years. In fact, she just let me know how she really felt in her last few months.
Sometimes when I want to lay blame for the way her life turned out, I have to stop myself and really think. I know, for example, had she been raised differently, she would not have been who she was. I would not be who I am today had it not been for my Mom.