And, how she made her favorites feel truly exceptional.
In Part Two of our series on extraordinary mothers, we proudly introduce you to Geraldine Faughnan. Gerri. Ma. Mommy. Grandma. Babcia. My late mother-in-law.
She had a talent for naming her favorites.
Her favorite daughter called Debbie. Have I mentioned she only had one daughter?
She had a favorite son.
She had a favorite son named Ricky.
Another favorite son, named David.
And, yet another named Lewis.
My mother-in-law was very clever in making sure that everyone felt like they were the most special.
Of course, I was her favorite daughter-in-law. Okay, I confess. Named Stephanie.
A Mother Who Collected Strays
It wasn’t just that this mother had favorites. She was loving.
So, she collected strays.
Some families take in stray cats. Others random dogs. Not my mother-in-law.
She made a habit of taking in human strays. Those who needed shelter.
And, a sense of family.
There was the young waitress who got pregnant. My mother-in-law took her in because her own mom wanted her to have an abortion.
My mother-in-law took in someone from her church who nannied during the week. And was homeless on the weekends.
And, then there was a homeless coworker of one of her children.
Hard to describe the countless others who found a bed in Ma’s house.
And, became one of her many favorites.
A Special Mom with Strong Traditions
Sadly, he died soon after I met my husband. A sweet man. An incredibly decent person.
Who followed his wife’s lead and her strong commitment to family. And, to God.
Gerri didn’t have much formal education. But, she was wise. And, funny. And, moral.
She was extremely proud to be Polish American. Her grandchildren honored her with the Polish word for grandmother, “Babcia”.
Babcia’s traditions included kneading a secret family recipe for pierogis. It was so good that a local deli bought and sold them by the dozens.
Family wasn’t Gerri’s only priority.
God and church were extremely important.
She preached the Word of the Lord everywhere. Thought nothing of saying grace in the local diner. Seemingly ignoring those who it might bother.
Special Moms and their Favorites
As a mother, Gerri tackled many skinned knees and bone fractures.
She even tried working on broken hearts.
At 17, her favorite son named Ricky enlisted in the United States Navy.
It was during the Vietnam War.
Ricky’s heart had been broken and he wanted to run away.
Mommy tried to bribe him.
Offered him a brand new sporty and snazzy Gold Dodge Duster.
It was a cool car.
It didn’t work.
Fortunately, her favorite son wasn’t stationed in Vietnam.
And learned wonderful lessons in the service.
But, none better than the ones he learned from his mother.
Because, I am married to that particular favorite son.
Life after the Loss of a Special Mother
My husband remembered his mother again just yesterday.
It is his belief that each generation is the next.
That he is his mother.
And, that sometimes when he speaks,
He hears her voice.
He says they never fought.
What a wonderful tribute to hear from the man I love.
They say to watch how a man treats his mother.
For it will be how he treats you.
It is true.