The Things Mom Didn’t Care About

The Things Mom Didn’t Care About

Mom’s MS would come in waves, sometimes she was doing better, sometimes worse. When she was doing worse, Mom would fall a lot. But unlike when healthy people fall, Mom wasn’t able to stick out her hands out in time to protect her head. So about a decade ago, for around a year, Mom would walk around wearing a bicycle helmet to protect her head in case she fell. Mom was a dignified, put-together lady. And this bicycle helmet made her look, well, how can I put this? Not so dignified and put together.
But Mom was remarkable that way. She really, really didn’t care what people thought about her. She did what she thought was right without looking around to see what everybody (or even anybody) thought about it.
Mom didn’t care if people thought badly of her, and she also had zero need to show off
Growing up, I attended a prep school attended by kids from mostly wealthy homes. In the student parking lot, one classmate kept her Mercedes, another his BMW, and another his Audi. Not all the cars were that fancy, but all of them had the stickers.The bumper sticker featuring the name of my prep school and, if my classmates had older siblings, the colleges their siblings were attending as well. In the world I grew up in, there was no greater proof of status and success (a parent’s ultimate expression of nachas, so to speak) than a fancy car with the name of our fancy school and fancy colleges on the back (one real-life example, my classmate with the previously mentioned BMW would ultimately feature the name of my prep school and Harvard University. Doesn’t get any better than that!)
And our car? Well, for years we took the city bus home from school. But after my brother got his license, we had a Toyota with no stickers on the back. Not a single one. And that was pure Mom and Dad. It was important for them that their kids got an excellent education. But why broadcast that to the world?
This week, my father mentioned that he had gone for a walk at a nearby park. Mom had loved that park, they had often gone walking there together. And Dad was thinking of making a donation in Mom’s memory.
I told Dad that I had noticed stone benches in that park with plaques featuring the donors’ names. My Dad said: “I think Mom would like the bench, but not the plaque.”
My Mom lived a life she loved. Devoted to her family, her patients, her ideals. Not the externalities. The bench, but not the plaque. That was Mom.

6 comments

  1. Chana Jenny, she is having so much nachas from you in Shomayim! We are getting to know and love your mom, who is such an inspiration!

  2. This is so true! We are getting to know your mother so well. I am coming to the site more often and looking for more articles. Your mother was so special. Thank you for sharing so much about her with us. I want my daughters to read this article in particular!

  3. Chana Schoenberg

    Seems like we had similar moms. If my mom (who was an accomplished artist) if she would have to wear a helmet she would decorate it with flowers and what not. She was full of whimsey and joy. They probably would have been good friends. Thanks for sharing

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