My First Love

It is Valentines’ day and I feel moved to give a special tribute to the original love in my life, my first love, my Mother, Kathryn Whitlow. I am one of the lucky ones in the world who had two parents completely devoted to their children. My mother was a 1950’s stay-at-home Mom who always let my two sisters and me know that we were the most important thing in life to her, along with my father. She was consistently a cheerful and conscientious Mom; we never doubted for one minute whether we were loved or would be cared for. She cooked dinner every night, made a lot of our clothes herself, and loved to think of fun things to do. She was especially good at birthdays and holidays.

I remember thinking I had the coolest Mom. She was a very stylish dresser, and when we kids were lucky enough to be at parties with the adults, I remember Mom standing next to the piano and singing, so lively and unafraid to shine. I thought, “I want to be like that.” She could do the Charleston, and taught me how to also. She was the life of the party as far as I could tell, and my Father always seemed to be so entertained by her and proud of her.

Then when the nest became empty, Mama certainly didn’t pine away. She and Dad created a really fun life for themselves. Mom took up tennis when she was about 60 and played constantly. When my Father died too young, in his early 60’s, Mom and her women friends because the sharpest, funniest, most sincere, compassionate, and hilarious group of women to be around. While my oldest daughter, Josi, lived in Chicago she used to go visit Mom often and she’d always tell me what a blast she had when she got to go out to dinner with the ladies.

Mom has said her rosary and a long list of prayers every morning every day of her life as far as I know; we always know when not to go in and bother her. Every friend and friend of a friend knows what it’s like to be on her prayer list. And Mama never forgets to ask how they are doing. As my nephew Tommy says, “Grandma and God are like this,” as he crosses his two fingers together. She can’t see the hungry face of a child without wanting to give them everything she has. Those charities design all of their flyers exactly for people like my Mom.

Mother is modest and humble, I often think too humble. She delights in bragging on those she loves, but I have never heard her brag on herself, even when she downright should.

When I was going through the most painful time of my life, my divorce, my Mother was there for me every single step of the way. I think we talked on the telephone every day for a long time, maybe a year. She did not want me for one minute to feel unsupported or alone in my agonizing process. She listened, she asked questions, she offered advice only when I asked for it, and was the best friend any woman in that situation could ever have. She got me through it.

Mom has been ill much of the time for the last few years, but hates to complain. She will be honest when we need to know what is really going on, but then follows up the information with how lucky she is and how much she has to be thankful for. Even in her own discomfort, she is never forgetting anyone else in theirs. She keeps a drawer full of cards ready so that she can always send a note to someone who might be comforted by it.

This might be the longest blog I have written, and it only scratches the surface. My mother walks the path of the true human being. She is a lady, with love and passion and patience and moxie. It’s a proud life to be her daughter because everywhere you go people say, “Oh, you’re Kathryn’s daughter? She is such a ….”  and follow with whatever their particular set of superlatives turn out to be. Mom only got to come to the mountain where I live once before she got too ill to travel, but everyone here fell absolutely in love with her and ask about her like they are asking about a dear friend.

I have many, many things in my life to be grateful for. And my first love, my Mother, is at the top of the list.

2 Responses to “My First Love”

  1. ljcollins Says:

    This made me cry. I need to go write a tribute to my mother right now.

    • Tayria Ward Says:

      Laura, I’m so glad you appreciated this. It means so much to share the love I have for my Mom. Thanks for reading it and sharing your encouragement about it. Love to you.

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