Anyone that knows my mother knows that she is a giver. She gives of herself to her family and gives of herself to her community. It is the rare non-profit that doesn’t have her on their roster of volunteers. She is the first one they call when they need someone smart, caring, and energetic. And she doesn’t care what the task is, she fills in where ever she is needed. Whether it is handle tickets sales at the Great Petaluma Chili Cookoff, or directing traffic in the Cinnabar Theater parking lot, she is always there to help and always makes people laugh in the process.
She has taught our family a great deal about what it means to care about those around us. We were recently reminded of this when my aunt faced some medical issues. Although not related, she was the first person my mother met when she moved to San Francisco in the mid 1960’s, and has always been as much of an aunt to my family as anyone. Her conditions were not life threatening, but my mother decided to focus the energy she would normal volunteer around town on my Auntie Kate. The organizations she normally volunteered with were fully staffed, so she spent her extra time helping Auntie Kate with her daily chores. She would take Auntie Kate shopping, to the saloon, and out for lunch. What errands Auntie Kate needed to run, my mom would do the driving, the door opening, and the heavy lifting.
Little did we know how important this would be. Auntie Kate suffered an unexpected heart attack during that time and luckily, my mother was able to comfort her through her final hours.
Auntie Kate’s final year could have been desperate, painful, and lonely but it wasn’t because my mom knew where she was needed and stepped in without question. This meant a lot to Auntie Kate, to her family, and to my family.
To me, helping those around you is as important a part of shaping our community as anything. It is inspiring that my mother would recognize where her extra time could best be spent. Even if it would not normally be considered “volunteering” it certainly qualified as “giving back to the community.”
I am proud of my mom and what she does for her family and her community. I feel very lucky to have learned the lessons I have and now that I am a bit older, to have become great friends with my mom.
Happy Mother’s Day Ma