Today would have been my late mother's 90th birthday.
She has been a figure in my life for all of my 50 years, despite being absent from my life for the 46 years that her breath left body.
When I think about her, sometimes I think about her as an image, a shadow, her passing away happened before memory was solid in my mind. I can not "see" her except through the pictures hanging on my walls and when I look in the mirror.
Everyone, my entire life, has told me how much I look like her, have hands like her, write like her, do so much like her. She was a creative soul who danced, sang, wrote, wanted so much out of life that convention would not allow her to achieve.
My mother loved deeply, unconditionally, and wanted so much to breathe life into everything around her.
1924 was a different place, so was 1946 when she married young because that is what "good Catholic girls do," even if her aspirations were to be a designer in New York.
When I think about her and women of her generation, of her mother's generation, I wonder about all the dreams they squashed due to convention. I wonder if my mother would be happy with my accomplishments, while not "Chairman of the Board," as she wrote on my infant picture, I have been on Boards of Directors, taught at major universities, earned more than one degree, have spoken to audiences from Governors to Vice Presidents, have raised beautiful children, and have held onto my passions. When I think of her, I often wonder would she be pleased with her youngest daughter.
I am sure she had dreams and aspirations for me the same way I do for my two daughters. I'm sure she would have been my champion and urged me to follow my heart, seek my truth, and advocate for myself, the same way I do for my two daughters.
When I pause to think about 1924 and 2014, I wonder how different we are and how alike we are.
As I pause to remember her, I celebrate the woman she was and the legacy that walks around with her name.
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