Norma Dean Miller Wampler Shouse, a true Irish beauty and soul inside and out. A woman I clearly hated at the age of 15, respected by the age of 25, admired at the ripe old age of 35, and deeply loved and lost to lung cancer at the age of 45. Only those who are closest to me would ever fully understand, the depth of our wonderful, turbulent, and yet delightful relationship, unless I took the time to write about it! I have sipped many cocktails with my closet friends while laughing, crying, screaming, and enjoying the relationship that was mine with my mother. On more than one occasion my friends have inspired me to write about my life, saying that many would enjoy hearing our stories. But more importantly, it is essential to me personally, that I memorialize all the details, because I have learned and grown so much through my relationship with my mother, who continually inspired me to be a better person one way or the other. We each have our own journey in life, but it is sometimes with careful reflection that we find out how we became who we are.
My mother took on many roles during my life, and I only truly understood her far too late I’m afraid. When I say that I have learned and grown through my relationship with my mother, it is not to say it was always because I thought she represented the best example of character at all times in my life. Don’t get me wrong, she cared deeply that my brothers and I got an education, learned manners, went to church, dressed properly, and presented ourselves respectfully in public. That said, her temper frightened me as a child, and her complete inability to control her temper in a store, at McDonald’s, or even when dealing with a co-worker or neighbor who had “wronged” her (in her opinion), was unnerving. If someone argued with her point of view over a price or refund, we kids would just tug at her shirt and beg to go to the car. NOW, I understand that my mother was menopausal for many years during my formative years, and yeah well, now I sorta get it, but only a little bit, lol. I swore as a child that I would NEVER embarrass my children like that in public! See, an early lesson learned: don’t totally embarrass your children in public, they will hate you for it.
There are so many stories that I have shared with my children, part of the inner me that resulted from events in my life with my mother. The events of my life never changed, I just grew up, grew perspective, understood my mother, understood how she became the way she was, and most important, learned that she was probably one of the most generous loving and loved people that I will ever know. Many of the things she did to me as a child that felt like torture, were her determination to turn the world into the most beautiful version of reality she could create. Her entire life was spent doing things for others to make everyone’s life more beautiful, more fun, more stimulating, and she did things out of a deep desire to be loved and accepted. When Mom came to live with me a few years before her death, many in my life would say, “I don’t know how you do it!” Well it was because I had learned to see these beautiful things in my Mom, accept her for who she was, and finally to give her the deep respectful love she deserved. Now……..I miss her everyday. Damn you cancer!
There are many delightful stories to tell, about Mom, and others. I hope you enjoy reading about my journey.