Thursday, December 3, 2015

I had a "Tiger Mom" before those were popular...

No one should feel guilty about being a "Tiger Mom" and no one should be anything but very thankful if they are lucky enough to have one of their own.

My mother had a hard life, and she left home in her teens to become a country school teacher to help support a family left on its own by her father, who had "delusions of grandeur" and envisioned himself as a gentleman farmer on the western prairies, if only he could prove up a homestead under the government's free land project. He had abandoned his wife and six kids to fend for themselves on a scrubby stump ranch near a little town on the northern shores of Lake Huron, during tough times in the early days of the 20th century. My mother's mother was also what might be called a "Tiger Mom". She ran a farm of sorts, and raised six kids to become productive members of society, with little or no help from her husband, who obviously considered that as "women's work", and beneath him.

When my mother succumbed to the charms and blandishments of my sporadically employed grade-school-dropout father and agreed to marry him, she literally didn't realize what she was getting herself in for. I came yowling along seven months and fifteen days after the wedding, just about the time dad became unemployed again, in the midst of the Depression, and for the next three years, we lived on the meagre savings mother had put aside from her former teaching jobs. She tried to tutor dad in finishing off his public schooling, but his nearby ignorant family made fun of him, and shook their fists at mom and called her nasty names for depriving them of my dad's portion of their family income. (I just had to 'love' those bastards from my first impressions!) And my superhero mom not only endured all that, but triumphed over it, and raised three of us kids, while returning to her teaching job. 

She was the "brains" of the family, and also its principal wage-earner, and she did all this with wit and style and great patience and tolerance for the obnoxious relatives surrounding us on all sides. She was and is yet my favorite person in all the world. Anything good and decent and worthwhile and intelligent and compassionate that I might be, I owe to my mom. All that other stuff that I'm not proud of being came from my dad, I'm sure.

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