In early May, my Mom retired after working 22 years for the South Shore Hospital in South Weymouth, MA. This prompted my sisters and I to throw a little celebratory gala in honor of a woman who has worked tirelessly on all fronts during every bustling phase of her life. My sisters handled the lion’s share of the planning but asked me to say a few words in honor of our dear Mom. I’ve reprinted those thoughts here to live on in cyber eternity. This is just the tiniest testament to her amazing accomplishments in working hard to build a great family.
When I sat down to write this little toast to my Mom, I realized pretty quickly that I made a slight error in drafting that original invitation. While my sisters and I invited all of you here to honor my mother as she turned the page on her career at South Shore Hospital – after serving them for 22 years – I realized that it goes much deeper than that amazing accomplishment.
For as long as I’ve known my mother she has worked hard to raise her children, to put food on the table and shoes on our feet. And when she wasn’t working diligently to keep us safe and sound, she was working like crazy to help her extended friends and family in whatever way she could. From pinch hit catering assignments to cobbling up crafts to earn a little extra money at the local craft fair, she has always found herself busy doing something to make those ends meet.
And it wasn’t always hard work designed to earn an extra dime. Sometimes it was hard labor undertaken for the purest intent of all – to make a house a home. I remember when my Mom and Dad first moved us from the city streets to the more bucolic South Shore – looking for a little larger real estate in which to raise a family. They found a decent sized house that must have been real attractive to its original inhabitants in 1892!!! By the time we arrived on the scene, there was need for an EXTREME HOME MAKEOVER. With no one offering to “MOVE THAT BUS”, my mother picked up a sledgehammer and went to town – tearing down crumbling walls, staining worn woodwork, scraping and repainting walls.
All done to turn a decent shelter into something more comfortable and welcoming. A nice nest in which to raise a family.
And to this day, that house and that neighborhood looms large in my memory. Sure, it’s where I grew up – and our original haunts are those places that stay with us to our dying day – but I think that it’s all the hard work that my Mom did to make that place shine that makes it beam so brightly whenever I take a quick trip back through those misty-eyed memories. She worked so hard to give us such a great childhood – the precious gift that all parents hope to pass on to their children.
And that’s what she has done over the years. She’s worked tirelessly her entire life to help others. I don’t mind saying that she raised three pretty great kids. She’s had a stellar career at South Shore Hospital where for the last 22 years she has punched in early each morning – sometimes on very little sleep – to help people start their day’s procedures. She’s always working, it seems.
Now that the stage shifts and she finally can sleep in a little later, my hope is that she’ll slow things down a bit. Maybe not to a full-on Southern drawl but just enough to relax. I think this will be a great time to continue focusing on her artwork. With the greater hold on computers and technology that her job at South Shore Hospital gave her, I think the stage is set to get those amazing lighthouses and landscapes further into cyberspace and into homes across the world. She’ll continue to touch people.
But seriously, she deserves a break. There aren’t words enough to express how much my Mom has meant to me nor my sisters or our children or her friends and family. At some point, she has gone overboard to help us all out. It’s a life of servitude that deserves this accolade. And it’s a life that deserves to rest a bit.
And have some fun.
And that’s my fond wish for my Mom. That tonight – and all the nights that stretch forward from here on out – that she simply enjoys a little rest and relaxation.
She’s earned it!!!