Friday, September 19, 2008

Being a Mom for Obama

As I listened to Barack Obama speak about his grandmother, mother, and wife who have struggled with the unjust realities of being a woman, working, raising and providing for their children, I thought of my mom. As I listened to the thousands of mothers spontaneously applaud his honor for them and his core decency and righteous indignation, I thought of my mom. As I listened to Obama speak about the kind of change he wants to bring that would help mother across this nation, I thought of my mom.

You see, my mom raised 12 children (7 boys and 5 girls) alone with determination, aplomb, ease, skill, ethics, love, kindness, and great discipline. She undoubtedly struggled, though we never saw it. She insisted on high ethical morals regardless as to what others were doing. (We are all licensed ministers, chaplains, and missionaries, sans dogma.) She insisted on education and our knowledge of global affairs. She stressed good grades, buying encyclopedias and books when finances were so minimal. We are all professionals and entrepreneurs, following in our culture's rich heritage of service in the church and the community.

My mother passed two years ago. We are all sorry that she is not here to witness this incredible time in our country's great history. What is most certain is that we all love and honor our mom, and know that if she were here this lifelong Democratic supporter would be a Mom for Obama, even though her children are both Democrats and Republicans.

May God bless moms everywhere and may God bless America.


wmmbb said...

Your mum was awesome, Judith.

I suppose with twelve children "the economies of scale" take effect. The older siblings could help the younger with school, books could be handed down, and so forth.

Your mother had to be the leader of the group. The question remains, how did she do it?

judith ellis said...

Thank you, wmmbb. My mom was indeed awesome. Financially, we did not have a lot, but it never felt as such. We always had what we needed and a great house, as my uncle was a successful broker and investor. Other relatives helped out, but it was clear that my mother was the leader. In fact, my uncles and aunts wanted to split us up among themselves. They were solidily middleclass. My mother flatly refused.

As with running any group, it is the leader that makes the difference; it is the leader that infuses energy and leads decisively. We all had responsibilities with chores (our house was spotless) and we were encouraged to love each other and show it through our actions. (She did not talk a lot, nor did she ever raise her voice--never! The same is not true of me, unfortunately.) We could debate intensely, but respect was a must. She would often say, listening to both sides and determing the loser, "Now, Timothy, give Judith a kiss." I had clearly lost that debate and needed consoling. It was a nice touch, even though I often squirmed.

Although there were many of us, my mom did not expect my older siblings to care for us; we were her responsibility. (They will tell you this. I am the youngest.) She also was very particular about our friends. She wanted to know who they were and what kind of household they come from. We could not just go to our friends' houses after school unless my mother had a relationship with their parents. We were not often at other people's houses, but our house was always full of other people's kids. It was nothing to have 50 people pop through for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, in addition to our family.

Above all, my mother was a strict disciplinarian who showed loved and held very true to her beliefs in the prinicpals of Jesus Christ. This she taught us from a very early age.