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The Greatest Mom in the History of the World
The story of one man's adoration for his mom.
Everyone thinks their mom is the Greatest Mom in the History of the World. When I was a child, my friends always used to try to claim that their mom was the best, and a scuffle would break out. I would just stand to the side and smirk; they were, of course, all wrong. How could their mom be the best when mine obviously had the title?
My mother was a single mom. My father walked out on us before I was even born. He just left for cigarettes when Mom was 6 months pregnant and never came back. Mom figured that if he wanted to go that badly, she’d just let him stay gone. And so he was.
When I was two, my mother realized that our rented room in the worst part of New York City just wasn’t where she wanted me to grow up. I was a typical two-year-old boy, active and into everything. The day I picked up a used needle to play with was the day she decided to get us out.
Unfortunately, with little money, her options were limited. She did have one very key skill, though – she was fluent in French. Her parents migrated from France just prior to World War II, and her home growing up had been French-only. So when she found the ad for a program to teach English to teens in the French countryside, she jumped at the chance and moved us to France.
I spent the next 13 years of my life in France. As part of the arrangements, we received a house in the village in which we could live and Mom could privately tutor in her spare time. Until I was fully fluent, Mom always spoke French at home. By the time I was 4, you couldn’t pick my accent from the other children in our village. Once I was fluent, we fluctuated between French and English at home, mostly English.
We never had a lot of money, but it always seemed like we had plenty. I never went without. It helped, of course, that life in the village was very inexpensive. Little did I know that Mom was stashing away every sou she could for our return to the US. I just grew up and did what I was expected to do. I earned superb marks in Primary and early Secondary school, and never got into behavioral problems beyond those that are standard for kids growing up.
When I was 13, Mom announced that it was time to move back to the US. She wanted me to attend an American high school and college. I didn’t want to go; I wanted to remain in France with the people with whom I had grown up. Mom knew, however, that I had to return to the US if I was to have any sort of a future.
We returned to New York, but came back considerably better off than we had left. Mom enrolled me in a prestigious private school; I went on a combination of a scholarship, tuition benefits, and her savings. We lived in a small row house near my school, and she taught French to the elementary students at the school. Graduation came, and I was accepted to an Ivy League university. Money was never a question; Mom wanted me to have the best education possible.
Mother’s Day is always a big holiday for me. When I think about what my mother sacrificed to raise me as she wanted, it absolutely boggles my mind. I lavish her with gifts every year, trying to top the previous years. But the one gift that remains constant is a box of fine French chocolates. I started this tradition in college, saving the few pennies I had to send her the box. But I’ve always wanted to silently thank her for what she did with a treat that she would always gaze at longingly in the shops in our village in France, but never actually purchase.
Years have passed, and I’m now a successful corporate attorney for one of the Fortune 100 firms. As my salary has grown, I’ve done everything possible to take care of Mom when she lets me. She tends to balk when I try to give her big ticket items, but I can slip little things by with her just smiling at me. And every time I give her that box of French chocolates, she gets a small tear in her eye as she bites into the first one.
About the Author: Jane S. Roseen is the Owner and President of Harmony Sweets, an international gourmet chocolate shop. Harmony Sweets' mission focuses on individual consumers purchasing gourmet chocolates from around the world for their friends and relatives, as well as corporate gift giving. Gourmet chocolate gift baskets and personalized chocolates are also available.