Be both.

"What If We Really Love All Humanity?"

"What If We Really Love All Humanity?"
by Steve Roberts Fine Art

My Mom, My Best Friend

My mom grew up an only child, but she wasn't in the least bit spoiled.  She learned the meaning of hard work by working in her mother's dress shop while other girls her age were at the local malt shop with their friends.   She went to a Catholic school and became known as the wild child by sneaking out to the field to smoke cigarettes with her girlfriends.  I can imagine the nuns were quite exasperated with her, but I think we would have made great friends if I had known her back then.

Like many girls in the late 1950's, my mom married and started her family right after high school.  I don't know what she was thinking when she had my brothers in 1959, 1960, 1962 (Jan.) and 1962 (Dec).  I came along four years later.

When I was born, my mom had been long since divorced from my brother's dad.  At that time, it was not socially acceptable to be a divorced woman.  Even worse to have a child if you were unmarried.  With these social 'rules' stacked against her, a social worker determined she was not fit to keep her newborn daughter and promptly placed me in a foster home.  My mom fought that arrogant social worker tooth and nail to get me back.  Two weeks later, she did.

The first time I realized my mom was more than just a mom was when her favorite cat died.  It was late at night and I awoke to hear sobbing.  It didn't register as my mother's voice because, in my young, six or seven year old mind, mommies didn't cry.  Mommies soothed their children's tears.  As I made my way into the living room, I discovered my mom leaning against the front door crying her heart out.  My first thought was, Who hurt my Mommy?  I'm going to beat them up!    She told me she found Hoppy, her beautiful Manx cat out on the road in front of our house; Hoppy had been run over by a car.  I hugged her as hard as I could, wanting to bring Hoppy back for her so her heart wouldn't hurt anymore.

My mom could be (and still is at times) ferocious.  Yet she has the softest heart of anyone I know.

Our family had our issues, like any other.  When one of my brothers was threatened by some local hoodlums, my mom invited them over to the house.  No, she wasn't serving tea.  She was serving a dose of what-is-going-to-happen-to-you-if-you-ever-threaten-my-son-again.  Funny... we never heard from them again.

When I became a teenager, a so-called, respected neighbor assaulted me.  Afterward, my mom knew something was bothering me and asked me about it.  I told her what happened.  Her face turned expressionless; she told me to stay where I was, then walked out the front door to his house.  After that day, my neighbor didn't talk to me; he didn't look at me, and he didn't even breathe in my direction.

We never knew what words my mom used to persuade these miscreants, but I don't think she put the fear of God into them.  I think she put the fear of burning hell-fire into them.  You messed with her kids at your own risk.

At the same time, Mom had a hard time turning away any unfortunate animals.  You can bet we kids took full advantage of that.  One of our family jokes is, Mom!  Look what followed me home!  She would get so mad at us for bringing home yet another stray, but we knew she would cave.  At one point, I counted how many animals we had - 7 dogs, 18 cats, a hamster, a bird, goldfish and a piranha named Igor.  Luckily, we had a large house with a huge back yard and a six acre field behind us.

I don't know how my mom survived and kept her sanity raising five kids.  We certainly didn't make it easy on her.  We were all absolute hellions.  And she struggled a lot financially.  At one point, she worked two jobs to keep a roof over our head and food on the table.  She even learned to make potato soup out of ONE potato and spices to feed us when she had no money.  She sacrificed so much more than I ever have to care for her children.  I don't think she has any idea just how much I admire her.  There are so many times in my life when I've wished I could be like her.  Really.  I know a daughter is not supposed to say it out loud, but when I grow up I want to be like my mother.

In every child's life, there is a turning point where the relationship you have with your parents will bring you closer or push you apart.  Mine came when I was a fourteen year old, hormone-charged, obnoxious teenager.  I was pushing the boundaries of exerting my independence and I was not considerate of my mother's feelings.  I had come home from being out with my friends.  I told my mom I was someplace I was not, and she called me out on it.  I wasn't about to get in trouble so I lied about it.  Bald faced lied.  My mom and I got into a big fight and then she sighed resignedly and said, "Sometime I think you hate me."  Hate you? I thought.  I love you!  But I didn't say it.  I stared at her defiantly for a moment, then turned and stomped off to my room.  I spent about an hour in my room arguing silently with myself, trying to decide if I wanted to continue being stupidly stubborn or swallow my adolescent pride.  I walked out of my bedroom.  With tears falling down my cheeks and feeling ashamed, I wrapped my arms around my mom and told her I loved her.  I didn't want her to ever think that I didn't.  I wasn't the perfect child after that, but I was always mindful of my mother's feelings.  And I have regretted my behavior every day of my life since.  Mom, please don't ever forget that I love you with all my heart.  Ever.

My mom is now my best friend.  She and I have talked about the meaning of life, the weather, religion, politics... you name it.  We don't always see eye to eye, but we understand each other.  I am so grateful to have her as my mother.

My mom is now 70.  She told me recently that she doesn't feel her kids need her anymore.  That's not true, Mom.  We just need you differently now.  As in needing your hugs when we visit.  Hearing your voice when we call, even when we interrupt your favorite TV show.  We still need your advice and wisdom when our lives aren't going as we expected.  We definitely need you.

My mom and newborn my son in 1989.  Aren't they beautiful?

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.  I love you.




I love you too Mom!! And you too sis... Happy mothers day to you both!


And which brother is this? : )


Oh Carli, that was the sweetest story about you and your wonderful mom. You are so fortunate to know without a doubt that your mom LOVED you so much she sacrificed for you and your brothers as you were growing up. Moreover for you to LOVE your mom by writing such a wonderful tribute to her on this Mother's Day is just awesome. I NEVER felt any love from my mother although I tried to show her that I loved her. She was a sadistic person who never should have had kids because I always felt more like a slave than a child with no good memories of her while growing up that it left such a terrible void in my life. There are times when I still think I am searching for a mother after all these years. I think you are happy because of the life your mom gave you and the fact that you see what she did for you simply makes you a much better person with a lot of heart about all life.

I sort of thought you must be young just by virtue of your writing as it has a youthful feel but an insightful light in all I have read of yours. I saw your comment to me on Palingates this evening. I have not commented today as it was such a busy day with my granddaughter [6 y/o] coming to visit [grandpa went to pick her up] and she was here quite a good portion of the day. I wanted to tell you that if a post is still open, it will not take you to a comment for reply [it will only do that once a newer post is up] and that's why it always takes me a long time to answer any replies I get because I have to search for them all by trying to figure where they would be located the next day - it's a pain, but I do it nonetheless. I can understand the frustration of trying to locate a comment when one's pc won't take them directly to it for reply.

Anyhow, I understand why you would leave the Catholic Church just as I did when I finally realized what it was really about and how any religion can affect one's life to have them turn out like Paylin who believes 'her god' is in charge of everything she does so she never has to take any responsibility for her actions! I never want to be like that as I know I am responsibility for everything I do or have done with no excuses that 'god made me do it or told me to do whatever'. Must be nice to live knowing one never has to take responsibility for one's actions no matter the damage to anyone else!

Well honey, I am going to get ready for bed as I am exhausted today. Hopefully I will see you again on Palingates or here. I hope you have a truly fantastic Mother's Day - the photo of your mom and son is 'priceless' because you can see the deep love in her eyes and heart [the way I feel about my little granddaughter]. I hope you have your mom for many, many years and it's evident your relationship with her is deep and so mature - nothing can take that away ever. You're such a sweet person and I glad we met on the 'gates'. Hope to see you there and I will continue to check in here most every day.

Your friend, Disparaged



This is I told you the other day, please keep writing. You know I've taken up that torch...I did it because Mom inspired me throughout life. You've a talent...a poignant way of describing the things that you observe or have experienced that reach into a person. I'm sure mom's phone will be busy tomorrow, and I hope those others who have come by and read this call their mother's and tell them how important they are in their lives. And I want to tell her that I need her more now than ever before...l

Jake Ice


Wow! Your words brought tears to my eyes. I feel like a turd because I only sent and e-card. Thank you for speaking the words we all wish we could find in our own hearts and for being the great sister that you are. Love you always!




Thank you again. I don't know if you know it or not, but Mom is very proud of your writing. She always has been.


You're not a turd! LOL Your actions speak to what's in your heart. You do a lot for her, more than you know.

I love you both.



You have such kind words and I really appreciate it, and your visits.

Email me if you want; we could have a great conversation!


You have expressed the truly loving Mother that you have, she is a very strong woman who loves her children and her animals. I am so proud to be able to be part of this family. I love your Mom more then you know. She has alway's been there for me. I am glad you shared with others how special you Mother is. Liz


I don't remember the zoo (18 cats? Sis, some of those belonged to the neighbors...they just ate over at our house). But this was awesome, and I love the pic of her holder your son. And also I agree with what you said about us needing Mom, albeit in a different way. Mom is my hero. Always has been, always will be.


Hi Carli, I see you have a wonderful family - siblings - as well as your precious mom and it's good to read how they feel about you. It's so nice to have a family who loves you. I'm not going to bother you Carli as I have seen how busy you are what with writing this beautiful blog as well as taking care of your family and commenting on the 'gates'. I will continue to visit here as much as possible because I so enjoy your writings. Thank you so much for all the beauty you are willing to share with so many. I hope you had a wonderful mother's day as well.

Your friend, Disparaged



I am glad you are part of the family too. YOU are appreciated so much more than you know.



Yes, we had 18 cats (many were kittens and didn't survive or stick around) for a very short period of time. All but a very few were outside. I wasn't counting Rusty, Damascus, Gandalf, etc.
; )



I didn't write much of a reply back the other night because it was my bed time too. I'm sorry to hear about your relationship with your mom. But our friends can become our family as well. And we get to choose them! I hope you had a wonderful time w/your granddaughter and a fabulous Mother's Day. I bet you spoil her, don't you?
: )


Hey! Who doesen't remember allthe cats? yeah, 18 at one count- not all kittens= they grew into adults and stupid here filled food and water bowls for them outside because I couldn't bear the thought of them starving!!!!
Took me 30 years or more to get smart. Now I only have a small dish outside for Missy, for water. Food and water dishes are inside.
And we did have all those aminals- good memory daughter.
You make me proud.
Oh- Gandalf was a grey and black w/brown markings German Shepherd that was in trouble forever. Dug trenches in our back yard and went on into the
Davidson family to be a pain .


LOL Mom! Down to 1 cat and 1 dog! Who woulda' thunk it?!


Dear Carli,

Well honey, I have had no choice about trying real hard to 'get over' my mother. My therapist, not many years ago, told me I needed to go visit my mother's grave so that I could get over my fear of her [at my old age]! I could NOT visit her grave as I still fear her so much that, if what I have heard about dying, we will once again see our family and loved ones, I do not want to die because I am still too afraid of her and how she could still hurt me even though we were both dead. [Weird thinking!!!] I am trying hard to accept things as they were, learn from them, and apply that learning to just being a good mom to my grown daughter and good grandma to my grandchildren [with the 6 y/o being our favorite despite the fact that she is growing so quickly and try not to show this around the other two].

I 'love' knowing 'your mom' is/was always so loving and gave you the security to have faith in yourself and your endeavors. That wonderful nurturing leads to good, strong and capable adults who care about humanity [as evidenced in your writing] and give back to their families and communities making better nations.

Yes honey, I know our friends can make up our chosen family and my hubby is my very best friend in that he is sometimes mom, lover, dad, best friend, and child as I am the same for him as we both had very bad childhoods [his with an alcoholic father]; we are always 'there' for each other and feel so fortunate in having each other to always lean on. I have other friends who mean as much to me as any family member could mean to anyone, so I know I'm blessed and fortunate.

As for our little g-daughter - absolutely, we spoil her rotten, but with guidance to let her know that life is not an instant gratification society and that everyone has to meet certain responsibilities [even if small at this age] even when they don't feel up to doing those things. Since her mom is divorced, we try to show her through our actions, as opposed to just talking, so she sees for herself what a 'good marriage' or relationship should be and all the other issues she may confront in her young life. We don't believe in corporal punishment and want her to know that, even in jest, physical approaches to any problem are not acceptable. She is a good child and a very happy child and is doing well in school. We only want the best in life for her. She loves coming to grandma and grandpa's house, so we keep her quite often. She loves my cooking and adores her grandpa as he teaches her lots about music, about the garden, takes her places and introduces to his adult friends so she won't be shy around others [she is the princess whenever she is out and about with him]. She knows we are always here for her.

Anyhow Carli, I did have a wonderful Mother's Day and I hope yours was just as nice - you surely do deserve it. I hope that things are well for you and yours. I have some surgery scheduled the latter portion of this week, so may be incapacitated for awhile, but will check back as soon as I'm able. Take good care of yourself honey, and I will talk to you soon! Thank you for all you do in making life so good for everyone who visits here.

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Sam Barai
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