Editor’s Note: We are very pleased to feature Gabrielle Stanziale as a guest author for this blog. We think you will agree that this tribute to her mother is both well written and touching.
Some childhood memories stay with us forever.
In my case, there were the days the UPS driver would deliver a small brown box. I’d see my mother gently unwrap the bubble wrap. And then, she would toss it to us so we could find slight amusement from the popping sound.
I can still hear the sound in my head as I play it back. Clear popping noises.
Sometimes the boxes came closer together; sometimes a year apart. At any rate, we all basically knew the treasure waiting to be revealed. Tucked inside were elongated versions of representative Lenox angels, crafted and painted beautifully.
Almost immediately the new additions would join the display of other cherished angels. Their symbolism was not lost on me.
For you see, my mother’s name is Angelina, from the Greek/ Italian meaning “messenger” and the American considerate meaning “Angel. “ In all candor, I truly could not have thought of a better name to belong to this woman.
In my eyes, my mother is beyond an angel. I say this by knowing the events in her life. She handles everything with humility and grace.
There’s no doubt about it. Seriously, I’d classify my mom as a Saint.
My Mother Gave Me Wings
I am my mother’s first born daughter, and I am a recovering drug addict and alcoholic.
However, this story is not about me. Nevertheless, it might help you understand why as recently as a year ago, I wasn’t my mother’s biggest fan. In fact, I thought of her as Public Enemy #1.
My mother fought for me and my siblings in aspects of our lives where we were lost on how to advocate for ourselves. Consequently, my brother and sisters grew up and learned useful traits and abilities to be adults and become independent.
As for me, I remained a self-proclaimed “child”, still relying on my strength to get me through everything. Regrettably, I was ungrateful for all the love my mom bathed me with in my darkest moments.
Honestly, I blamed my mother for my circumstances; I understand now how her heart broke a little more each time.
Nevertheless, my mother has never lost faith in me as I attempted to get help for my issues.
No doubt it has not been easy. After all, I put her through many sleepless nights. And, that’s just a part of it.
Worry and stress. Missing items and money. Phone calls from hospitals or rehab centers. Surely it seemed as though it would never end.
Yet, my mom has always had the strength of a bull. I look at my mother as a heroic, admirable figure. Still, I have moments of regret where I was too self-involved to be a daughter to my mom during her hard times.
No matter what the circumstance of her life and ongoing stress, my mom would passionately attempt to guide me into a solution for mine.
My mother is my most comforting thought; her love is never ending. A decision my mother made when I was born was to always love me.
However, the greatest gift she gave me was letting go, so I could learn to love myself.
My Mother has Other Challenges
Of course, I’m not the only one who has benefited from my mother’s love. For one, there’s my oldest brother Victor. He’s always been quite my protector. And, as a result, shared a similar love/hate relationship.
I remember the day Victor called to talk to me. His voice had a remarkable calmness. At the same time, it had to be hard.
Victor explained that something was going on with my mother’s health. Admittedly, it took some time for me to clearly decide to hear Victor’s words through the telephone.
“Mommy has a tumor on her thyroid. She’s getting surgery. She’ll be fine. Don’t worry.” Only the follow up call said that my mother had cancerous cells and would be receiving radiation treatment.
I can’t pin point the feelings I had each time I heard upsetting news about my angel, my Mother. However, I can though tell you it was nothing short of a “reason” to swim to the end of a bottle or two and fill my nervous system with emotional pain numbing substances.
Nonetheless, I see something now, from clear minded eyes. The moment my mother let go deciding to stop doing everything for me, was the greatest blessing she has given me since birth.
I will never be able to return the sleepless nights I stole from my mom or rewind time and speak to her with gratitude and not temporary hatred.
I can however, give her, her daughter back, and I’ll be damned if I’m not working hard towards that now.
In the meantime, I’m just glad that the treatments worked. Thankfully, my mom is now cancer-free.
My Mother, the Role Model
My mother is the cornerstone of our family. Most times when things fall apart around us, she’s there geared up to solve and redirect an issue.
Really, I have never seen anyone else handle family member’s sickness, hospital confinement, funerals, surgeries, unpaid bills, and just simple tears, with such grace.
I can only hope that one day I may become my mother.
She exudes beauty, love and intelligence as a permanent aura, and to spice up her personality makeup, I’ll throw the word “passionate” to describe her vocalization of issues, feelings and solutions.
As a result, this woman I call my mother has become a portrayal of how I strive to be as a woman. Strangely enough, as I watch myself in the mirror applying makeup. I notice I make the same “dumb” faces I watched my mom make my whole life.
I am my mother’s daughter.
Sadly, I used to think my mom was out to destroy my life, I know now she wanted nothing but the best for me.
These days, I show up now for my mom with daily phone calls and even dismiss my self-centeredness for a minute to ask her “How are you feeling today?” Better yet, I genuinely mean it.
My mother may not be tall, or muscular or live by a beanstalk. However, she is a giant in my eyes made up of love and pure intentions.
I still think of my mother’s hugs and smile when she sees me after months as a comforting thought through my harder days at the age of 25. This Mother’s Day, I chose to honor my mother and her accomplishments and I applaud her for her courage to move on past her own losses.
I love the angel that bought me life, and can only hope to one day be able to be half the woman she is.