My Mom passed away on July 17, 2011 at a very young 59 years of age. I wanted to write this post then but I couldn’t deal with all of the emotions at the time for me to be able to write anything positve. It’s OK that I’m just now getting to this because I will never forget what my Mom meant to me.
She was incredibly nurturing and protective of her own. She could be a spitfire when she wanted to be. And when it was time to clean the house you had better bring your “A” game because no one was going to go play until the job was done right. Don’t think that just because we were leaving for vacation at 7am meant that the house didn’t have to be clean… no THAT was apparently the best time to deep clean the Pavliska house. “Don’t you want to come home to a clean house?”, she would say.
She taught me many guilty pleasures like curling up on the couch and watching TV, all day… on a weekend. (Hey, if she was scratching YOUR back you would understand.) She was a great cook. It didn’t matter what we had in the freezer or pantry, she could whip up a southern meal with whatever she had. I owe my love of food to her.
All of these things are great memories but they aren’t the ones that I cherish the most. I’ve thought about this for the last several months and there are a few things she would tell me which stand out from the rest. These were things that never changed through her life and I believe were true to her core.
“It takes all types to make the world go ’round.”
That is etched into my mind and I can envision her saying it to me right now. I can’t quite remember if it was her mother who taught her that but I know she use to say it to me all the time. I would come home from school and complain about some bully and how much I “hated” them or that some teacher really got on my nerves because she expected this or that and I didn’t like it. My Mom would just remind me that it took all types so I had better accept it that way. “But shouldn’t they stop doing that?” and she would just say again “Chad, it takes all types of people to make the world go ’round.”
The message was that people are unique and different and some of them will rub you the wrong way but you need to just accept them and their differences and move on. My Mom didn’t see the world as being divided into socioeconomic classes, race, or religion she saw the world as being made up of people who were all different but special in their own way. She didn’t try to change others to fit her vision of the world, she accepted theirs.
“You can be anything you want to be.”
This is quite possibly the one thing my Mother taught me that I cherish the most because I still have this belief and I draw from it all the time. She was incredibly optimistic, supportive, and uplifting when it came to talking about your potential. There were countless nights when I would break down from the pressures of school, sports, or even girls because I thought I didn’t measure up in some way. There is a vivid memory I have of us sitting on the bathroom floor and she was telling me, scolding me, that if I wanted to I could make straight A’s *and* be a star football player if I wanted it bad enough.
The key about this was that she wasn’t telling me those things because that’s what *she* wanted for me. She was telling me those things because she believed in me, in my ability to help myself, and because she knew that was what *I* wanted even if I didn’t fully realize that. She believed in you. She was incredibly supportive of your dreams and aspirations and had a core belief in your ability to achieve them.
It wasn’t just for me.
The most uplifting thing that I latched onto after my Mom passed was the realization that she had positively impacted so many others lives during her time here. I know this because of all the people from her golf community, her old job at the State, childhood friends, friends from when she lived in Austin, her family, and from talking to her significant other Jack Yancy and his family. They told me stories of how she helped them get through rough time in their lives, that she was a bright spot in their day, or how she would take groceries to the elderly and just sit with them so they had someone to talk to. She meant so much to such a large, diverse community of people that it made me realize that all those times when I needed her growing up that she was that person for everyone else as well.
It makes me so happy to know that so many other people where positively impacted by my Mom and that it wasn’t just me who received such love and support. That is something to aspire to. That is something to remember when we are sad that she is no longer here with us. That will be her legacy.
Happy Birthday Mom.
Love, Your Son.