Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Honoring my mother in law and her country

This pin was proudly worn by my late mother in law.  She came from Germany to the United States of America in November 1953, married to Marty's father and basically, not speaking a word of English.  She became a US citizen and learned the language, tutored by one of her new aunts and by watching soap operas---aaawwww, they do have some value!  She loved this country and after her divorce from Marty's father, she chose to stay here.  She spent her entire life devotedly loving her only child and doing her very best (often working 2 jobs) to provide for him and his future.  One of the last things she said to me, "please take good care of Marty".
I had planned to include this pin on the jewelry table during the estate sale but changed my mind at the last minute.  Looking at this red, white and blue symbol, as I pinned it on my fall coat, a couple of thoughts swirled around in my head.  It's a bit hard to see in this photo but the pin is missing a stone, in the bottom stripe, far right corner and that missing stone is what jumped out at me.  We believe our country is the best and we too work hard to create a perfect life, whatever that may be. But like this pin, there are little imperfections, pieces missing, parts of the journey that do not work out as planned.
My mother in law made a conscious choice to live and work here and accepted the USA for what it had been when she arrived, what it was at the time of her choice and her belief in what it could be, for her and her son, in the future.  We, who are born here, often feel our blessings are entitlements; we often forget that many gave and continue to give their lives for our freedom.  Freedom to make the choice my mother in law made and freedom to make hundreds of other choices daily.  I loved my mother in law; I miss her.  I admired her determination to succeed and her dedication to her family and though I don't often think about it, I love my country too.  It may not be perfect but it's determination to succeed is constantly evolving.  It may have strayed from it's creation based on faith and family but I believe we are realizing, as we struggle with economic and environmental issues, those two premises have value and strength.
On the anniversary of my mother in law's arrival in America, I pray for solid and unwavering faith.  Faith in my fellow man and strength to proclaim the type of faith in the USA that my mother in law displayed, when she chose to make this country, my country, hers.

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