On Mother’s Day I have a full heart to thank the Mothers in my life. My life has had some interesting twists and turns, but there have been mothers all along the way. Our first human contact is always with our mother. It is also one point of our life for which we had no control or say. We were brought into this world by a mother…and for this, for our lives, we should have gratitude to a mother who suffered the pains to bring us forth into whatever the future holds for us. So, today, Mother’s Day 2015, I celebrate those Mothers in my life…my mothers, my wife, who is the wonderful mother of my children and then, the mothers of my grandchildren.
The first mother of note is my natural mother, born Orene Goldberg, she brought me into the world on October 4, 1956 in Cleveland, Ohio. I was named Carmen David Laurienzo, named after my paternal grandfather, who was from Matrice, Italy.
Even at the time, Orene, my natural mother, suffered from emotional issues. She had been sent to Cleveland from Albuquerque, to a Jewish Girls’ school and there met my natural father Joe Laurienzo and thus was the beginning of my life.
In August 1957 Orene left Joe and returned to her home in Albuquerque. Not too much later she met Joe Kravetz and they were married and he adopted me and I was renamed David Charles Kravetz. They had a second son, Aaron, in 1960, but shortly thereafter, Orene left again. I did not see her until much later on in my life. By then she had changed her name to Jennierose Lavender, which is her name today. She is in her 80s and in a nursing home in California. I have not spoken to her in a few years. But, I am always grateful that she brought me into this world. She is indeed my mother.
After a couple of “motherless years,” Joe Kravetz met and married Marjorie Tudor, who had been married once before and had a son, 16 days younger than me, named Danny. Her son was mentally retarded, but she loved him. Marge, as she was called, was a religious woman. Like Orene, she had grown up in a somewhat dysfunctional family. But she tried to get her life together and was active in the Jehovah’s Witness faith for many years and, as such, brought up her children in that faith. Joe was Jewish, but was not active in the faith. His job kept him away from home often and so she would take us to the Kingdom Hall.
Marge had many struggles. She suffered a number of health issues, including diabetes and weight problems. After a few years she and Joe had two other children, Gary and Sherry. So, our mixed family struggled on through a number of moves (due to Joe’s job with Skaggs Drug). We left Albuquerque and over a period of 10 years we lived in Dallas, Denver, Great Falls, Bozeman and Salt Lake City. During this time our family struggled with dysfunction as well. Marge did all she could to hold us together, but it was tough-going for all. But, she should be honored for doing the best that she could under the circumstances. Not until after he passing in 1982 did I realize that she loved her children. Dysfunction in a family can blind one from understanding this. She later divorced Joe and lived alone in her last years. The doctor said she died of heart failure. I say she died of a broken heart. I am sure she is happily engaged in a much better situation on the other side. She was indeed my mother in a nurturing way that I never understood until later in life.
My third mother, and she truly was a mother to me in so many ways, was my mother-in-law Arlene Shepherd Bateman. Unfortunately, my relationship with her started off on slippery slopes and was rocky the first few years of my marriage. This was due to my immaturity and the many foibles and weaknesses that I had, some due to the instability of my first 21 years of life.
Arlene was the mother of six children, and my wife Julianne was their fifth. Arlene was a good mother and raised her children in the Mormon faith as best as she knew how. Like any family, they had their struggles and challenges, but ultimately, in my opinion, I think she did an amazing job.
As the years passed, my relationship grew and I honored her as a mother that I never had. She came to love me and I felt the love from her that I didn’t ever feel from my first two mothers. Yes, even as an adult, I was chided often by mother Arlene.
For many years we were separated by distance as my family lived in Japan or across the country from the Batemans. But we always felt her love and care.
Perhaps my fondest memory (and I am in tears as I write this), was standing next to her with her hand in mine as she lay on her death bed in Mesa, Arizona. Knowing her time was near, I expressed to her my gratitude for all she had done for me, I expressed my love to her as well. And she said “I love you too David.” I will never forget that experience. She was truly my mother in so many ways. I am grateful she was in my life.
THE MOTHER OF MY CHILDREN – MY DEAR WIFE
I have written often about my sweetheart Julianne, and many times about how good of a mother she was (and continues to be) for our five children.
I marvel at Julianne’s nurturing ways, at her capacity to love, at her patience and her fun-loving ways. She is most definitely the greatest blessing in my life and, I would argue, the greatest blessing in the lives of our children.
As a mother, she struggled through the first years while I was in school and working, practically raising three young children single-handedly. She has also traveled the world with our family. Her first venture across the ocean was as a mother of four, with a young baby, flying to Japan without her husband. She was stranded overnight in Korea with the four children, alone and before the days of cell phones. She then spent four years in Japan dealing with tragedy (Seth was burned badly and she spent a week in a hospital with him not knowing Japanese), learning a new culture, dealing with the unique style of Japanese elementary schools and more.
Upon return to the States, she then had to deal with life’s challenges. I had no work for a few months and later, I traveled to Kentucky in 1992 for employment on a short term contract and thus left her alone with five children for 8 months. And she did an amazing job of taking care of them…alone.
As the years passed she raised five awesome children. She was the rock and foundation of the home. In many ways she was like a mother to me as well. Three children served LDS Missions, two graduated from college, two received Eagle Scout awards, four have been married and have children of their own.
For nearly 36 years, I have been “Married Up” to a woman I couldn’t have ever imagined even dreaming about. She is a fabulous mother and an amazing wife.
I watch her now as a grandmother of nine (soon to be ten). She is just as nurturing and loving to those dear grandkids as she was to her own children.
I see the love she has for all of us. Julianne is a blessing to many many people. And, most of all, she is a wonderful mother.
THE MOTHERS OF MY GRANDCHILDREN
I cannot justifiably celebrate Mother’s Day without also celebrating the mothers of my grandchildren…my three daughters and a great daughter-in-law. These woman (and yes, they are woman of courage and strength) are indeed a blessing to me and to their families.
These four ladies are raising some amazing kids. Each has dealt with their own set of challenges, and each has done a great job handling them. So, I want to honor each one with a brief note about them….for they too are mothers in my life.
My oldest daughter Amaree is also the mother to four of my grandchildren. Amaree was the first of all of our children and it has been a joy to watch her grow up, get married and now raise her children.
After serving an LDS mission in Japan and then graduating Summa Cum Laude in Music at the University of Kentucky, Amaree married a fine young man, Aaron Matthews.For many years Amaree and Aaron lived in Montana. Like any young couple, they went through some job changes, and some challenges. Perhaps the greatest challenge was their youngest son Benson, who was born with a heart defect. Heartbreak and challenge and a couple of operations later, we now look at little Bensie as a joy to all of us.
A few months ago they made a choice to take a job transfer to the Seattle area so they could be closer to good medical services for Benson. They are thriving in this new area and are loving it there.
We love seeing this little family grow. Each of the children have grown curious with the world around them. Amaree is always there for them and is a fabulously wonderful mother.
Amaree is certainly a mother in my life that I am grateful for.
My second daughter, Marissa, is also an amazing mother. She has always been artistically talented. Like her older sister, Missy, as we call her, served a Mormon mission to Thailand. After her return, she had a small stint at BYU, but, her motherly instincts kicked in early and she chose married life over school. She married Adam Noe just one week after her sister Amaree was married.
Since her marriage, Missy has brought forth three sweet children. I feel so blessed to be close to her and to these adorable children.
Her artistic nature has led her to photography and she has done a splendid job of recording almost each and every move of her children. She loves spending time with them, teaching them and taking them on trips.
I have accompanied her on three trips with the kids, who know how to travel and love the adventure.
Not without her own struggles and challenges, Marissa has sought for ways to overcome them. She has a great husband and they live a good life here in Kentucky.
Marissa and her mother are best friends. They talk daily and enjoy their time together. It is a joy to see them and a joy to watch Missy raise her little family. I am blessed to have Marissa as another mother in my life.
My third daughter Chelsea is also a mother. She was the first of my children to get married, and at an early age. Her daughter Autumn is the oldest of my grandchildren, at age 9.
Chelsea has been a fee-spirited girl. She struggled with English upon return to the States in 1991, having spent her formative years in Japanese schools and with Japanese friends and television.
She too was artistic and musical, a violinist in high school. She was not fond of school and even chose to not attend her high school graduation. But, she has also worked since she was 16. In fact, she has been at Wendy’s for many years and has thrived as a manager.
Chelsea has also been a responsible mother. She has ruthlessly protected her child (I love how she always calls Autumn “my child”). Though she went through a painful divorce and has had to deal with life as a single mother, she has found ways to make it happen. Her Autumn loves her to death.
As a mother, Chelsea makes every effort to shuffle her schedule and spend every free moment she can with her daughter. She has given Autumn endless opportunities to learn about the world around her, has taken on her numerous hiking trips and other adventures. I am very proud to include Chelsea as one of the mothers of my life.
And finally, there is Holly Walker Kravetz, my only daughter-in-law. She is the wife of my son Seth and the mother of my grandson Rockwell (RockE) and soon to be the mother of grandchild number 10.
I actually knew Holly’s parents before I ever really knew Holly. In many ways, Holly is like my oldest daughter Amaree…a bit strong willed (but not in a bad way). i am sure that she keeps my son Seth in line…and she should.
As a parent, I have always been uncomfortable with my in-law children in the beginning. They are always new to our lives and learning about them as they are instilled into our lives has been a challenge. But as the years pass, I take great joy in watching them grow and I learn to love them as my own. Holly is now blossoming as a mother and wife. Like her “sisters” (my daughters), she has a very artistic side to her and is doing well with her art work, having even made a business of it.
But what I see most is her great efforts as mother. Holly and Seth have lived apart from us for most of their marriage. They have lived in Connecticut for a couple of years, so we rarely see them. But, Facebook and Skype bring us closer together and we can see the love and nurturing.
Rockwell is a happy boy and appears to be very well behaved and very smart. Much if this can be attributed to the great mothering he is getting from Holly.
We look forward to the birth of her second child, whom they know is a boy and have already selected Samuel as a name. I am sure that Holly will be an excellent mother to him as well.
I am honored to be able to include Holly as one of the mothers in my life.
The world would be a terrible place without mothers. I am grateful for those that nurture their young and raise them to be good citizens, responsible adults and, ultimately, good mothers and fathers themselves. I count myself blessed to have so many mothers in my life.
Life is good, especially when there are mothers involved.