S: A Tribute to my Mom Joseph Kanouse
BC: The End
FC: by Joseph Kanouse | My Mother: A Story of Inspiration
1: Love, Joe 2011 | For Mom, Thank you for being you.
2: By the time I was 10 years old, I was reaching the same conclusion as many of my peers. Santa Claus, in all likelihood, was not a real person and was probably, in fact, my mother. Eventually, I worked up the gumption to ask my mom about this, which was no easy task. | When I confronted my mom with this question, she thought about it for a quick second, and then gave me an answer that would stay to me until this day. "Joe," she said quietly and sincerely. "I believe there's a little bit of Santa Claus in all of us."
3: Through these few simple words, I began to move into the more logical and reasonable world of adulthood without having to completely let go of the optimism and pureness of my childhood. This is what my mother taught me: In order to make it as an adult, it is essential to remain a certain amount of the altruistic kindness and unconditional love that we use so frequently as children. It was through this ideology that my mother impacted my life more than any other person ever would. This mentality could not have been easy for her to sustain throughout a life that brought much adversity and struggles, and for that I have a tremendous amount of respect.
4: My mother was born as the middle child in a lower middle-class, blue collar family in rural northern Michigan. Her father drove tuck and was gone quite often. Her mother drove a school bus and was not what we would refer to today as "well adjusted". She was unable to show love to her children easily, if at all. When her father was around, constant fighting continued between my grandparents. As an escape from the chaos at home, my mother read constantly. When she didn't have her nose in a book, she would spend time with her godparents, aunts, and uncles. I believe it was during these early days that she developed a sense of near pathological optimism and unwavering kindness as a defense mechanism against otherwise tumultuous circumstances.
5: These traits would continue to serve her well in the years ahead, as life was not about to get much easier. At 17, she moved out of her parents home but did not have many prospects at her disposal. At this time, Michigan still had one of the strongest manufacturing economies in the world, and my mother went to work in a local factory. Shortly thereafter, she met a man and fell hard in love. In no time, she was pregnant with me. They were quickly married, as was expected at the time, without really getting to know each other beforehand. This proved to be a crucial mistake. The man she had married was developing quite a drug and alcohol problem that was often accompanied by brutal violence. Eventually, she left him, relying on little other than her optimism and the kindness of strangers.
6: All things grow better with love. | Mom got by the next few years devoting her entire life to her son and his welfare. When five years later, she found herself pregnant again, she decided to return to school and obtain a nursing degree. Being a single mother is never easy, but it was especially not so under Reagan. She got that nursing degree, and has spent the subsequent twenty-five years taking care of people. | She has spent most of this time doing home health care, visiting with elderly people and those who are homebound. She cares for those who not only need health care, but are desperate for visits and the company of a caring heart.
7: Outside of work, she performs small helpful tasks like setting up their medicine for the week, and then spends an hour or two just talking with them. For this, they may bake her a cake or knit her a table doily. Some may even try to offer her some of their limited disposable income, to which my mother will react with righteous indignation. In my mother's mind, being kind and considerate is as necessary in life as eating and sleeping. She lives by the words of Plato, "Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle." | This is what she does best: let others know she cares, even if no one else does.
8: So always remember that everyone you encounter is fighting that hard battle. If the customer that comes into your business treats you coldly and rudely, keep in mind that it's possible he lost his wife of 40 years yesterday. We never know for sure what's going on in the lives of others so we must give them the benefit of the doubt. This will make the world a much nicer place to live for everybody.
9: I believe this is something we are all capable of due to the impact my mother made on me. I believe this because I believe that there's a little bit of my mother in all of us.
10: "A mother is one who, upon seeing there are five people and only four pieces of pie, promptly announces she never did care for pie."
12: "An ounce of mother is more than a pound of clergy." - Spanish Proverb
14: A family is pieced together with hope and faith. A family is quilted and bound with love and grace.
16: "The best academy is a mother's knee."
17: Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older- but grown? What's that supposed to mean? In my heart, that don't mean a thing. -Toni Morrison, Beloved
18: "A mother never leaves her children at home, even when they're not with her."