What I think about today is how my mother saved my life, literally, at least 2X, if she hadn't been there, or if she hadn't acted, I would not be here writing about this now.
The first time was a fire, we were living in a tiny travel trailer, behind the house we were going to move into once it was fixed up. I was not quite ready to start school yet, my little sister was still in diapers, my brother was not yet born. My dad was not home, I assume he was at work. The travel trailer had a front door, small living room, a galley kitchen and a bedroom, the bedroom had a door to the outside, but it was jammed, it wouldn't open.
At some point during the day, an electrical fire broke out in the kitchen, my mother, sister and I were in the bedroom. The fire spread quickly and there was no getting out the back door. My mother knew she couldn't carry both of us though the flames, so she put my sister into a pan of water she has right there, she picked me up and threw me, as hard as she could, through the flames! She said I rolled into the couch next to the front door. She then picked up my sister and ran through the flames herself, grabbing me on the way and out the door we went.
The second time she saved my life was not too many years later, this was a water rescue. We were living in California, we liked going to the beach, but the waves were too much for us younger kids, so we would go to a man made lagoon, the water was calm and easier for young kids to play in.
I must have been 6 or 7, my mother had her hands full with 3 kids to watch, mainly my youngest brother who managed to get into everything he wasn't supposed to. None of us kids could swim, but we generally didn't go very far into the water. I was chasing a potato chip wrapper in the water, I would hit it then follow where it went. It was going into the deeper water, the water was up to my neck but I still felt comfortable, I thought I would hit it one more time then turn around and go back to the shore. As I leaned out to hit the wrapper, I stepped into a hole, I immediately went under water. What I thought was a hole was in reality, where the bottom dropped off steeply. I came back up but not for long, each time I came up I had a mouth full of water, I was trying to scream but couldn't. Each time I went back under, I stayed there longer and longer. After a few times up and down, I knew I wouldn't be able to come back up again. At that point, I relaxed, it was no longer scary, I felt a peace like I have never felt before or since, I felt warm and safe, I was ready to die.
Then I felt a hand, someone was pulling me up, I could breath again! My will to live kicked back in full force and I began to struggle. I could see that the person who was saving me was my mom, I grabbed her and started climbing up her as hard as I could. She pushed me away, hard. I didn't understand why she did that, she had to get me turned around so that I couldn't grab her, otherwise I would have drowned us both. She turned me around, grabbed me and started swimming back to shore, apparently in the process of drowning, I had managed to get pretty far out into the water.
At the time, she didn't know it was me who was drowning, she just saw a child in distress and did what any good mom would do, she dove in to save me, it wasn't until she pulled me up and saw my face that she realized it was her first born who was in the process of drowning. Turns out that was a good thing, she told me later that if she had known it was me, she might have panicked for a second or two before reacting, and that might have made the difference to my condition when she pulled me from the water.
I came out of that with flying colors, I am not afraid of the water, I am not afraid of death either, well, not as much (grin), for what it's worth, drowning isn't a bad way to go.
I lost my mother some years ago, she was in a car accident and died on the way to the hospital. I do wish I could have been there with her when she passed, but circumstances dictated otherwise. I fully believe that things happen for a reason, even if we don't understand the reason at the time, or even years later.
Besides teaching me how to keep my head in an emergency, here are some other things she taught me,
In honor of Mother's Day...
I OWE MY MOTHER
1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."
2. My mother taught me RELIGION. "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."
3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL. "If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"
4. My mother taught me LOGIC. "Because I said so, that's why."
5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."
6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT. "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."
7. My mother taught me IRONY. "Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."
8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS. "Shut your mouth and eat your supper."
9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM. "Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"
10. My mother taught me about STAMINA. "You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."
11. My mother taught me about WEATHER. "This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."
12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY. "If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"
13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE. "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."
14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION. "Stop acting like your father!"
15. My mother taught me about ENVY. "There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."
16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION. "Just wait until we get home."
17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING. "You are going to get it when you get home!"
18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE. "If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way."
19. My mother taught me ESP. "Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"
Ours was always "I know about the things you do even when I don't want to know.
20. My mother taught me HUMOR. "When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."
21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT. "If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."
22. My mother taught me GENETICS. "You're just like your father."
23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS. "Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"
24. My mother taught me WISDOM. "When you get to be my age, you'll understand."
25. And my favorite: My mother taught me about JUSTICE. "One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you."
Thanks Mom for bringing me into the world, thanks for making sure I stayed safe (and alive), thanks for teaching me humor and humility, thanks for teaching me how to be independent and do things for myself, thanks for teaching me how to cook and crochet, thanks for keeping me safe and at the same time allowing me to get into just enough mischief to learn how to get myself out of trouble, thanks for being there to save me when I couldn't get myself out of trouble. I hope you can see how well things have turned out for me.
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