I Want To Be Like You!

Nov 08, 2019

Since I entered your life 41 years ago at age 19, literally barefoot and pregnant, I’ve wanted to be like you when I grew up.  I hadn’t seen the likes of you before - beautiful, faithful, educated, classy, and loving. We came from two different worlds.  Some Christian mothers-in-law would be petrified, mortified and humiliated to be introducing a complete stranger as her new daughter-in-law and mother of her upcoming grandson.  If you were, you certainly didn’t convey it to me.  You got right down to business by welcoming me into the Soroka family, throwing us a big baby shower in the church, and making sure we knew we had plenty of support.

Right away, you treated me like I was the expert of my life….like I knew what I was doing.  Quite hilarious, looking back, because I didn’t have a clue.  However, your faith in me, gave me faith in myself.  Part of me, was a bit intimidated by you, you had it all together, you knew about life, and truly, I never saw you show any fear or anxiety.  However, the other part of me knew we would be okay, because we had you in our corner.  You were outspoken and sometimes abrupt but it didn’t take me long to figure out that this was your style and there was no hidden agenda there.  Somehow it gave me permission to develop my own straightforward approach and be proud of it.

You sent lots of letters as we scampered about the state with work, many of which I still have.  Consistently, you wrote long letters detailing certain life aspects, which until the writing of this letter, did I didn’t notice were teaching how to be an effective wife, mother, friend, spender, earner, citizen, etc.   I found myself wanting to please you.  I would write you or call you back boasting of my accomplishments like an anxious student with her teacher.  You were always kind, encouraging and proud….which was exactly what I needed.

You treated me like I was something special.  Every single time we arrived at your home or you at ours, you had a gift for me.  Yes, you usually had a gift for each of us, but you always had a special one for me. Something beautiful, that I would not even consider buying for myself.  Your passion for art, beauty, health, wellness, current events, reading, traveling, your friends, your children and their families, learning, your faith and your home inspired me greatly.  You opened my eyes to other ways of thinking and “seeing” life.  Your interest in me, our family, my education, hobbies and ideas supported my self-esteem, confidence and personal growth over the years.  You have influenced me greatly in a very positive way.

I remember your stories of valuables you would find while bargain hunting at Nordstroms, Goldwaters, Macy’s and Dillards, and sometimes in the alley behind your beautiful home when neighbors would throw away perfectly good treasures.  You always told me that you wanted to be an adventurous bag lady, when you “grew up”.  Pushing your shopping cart full of your unique finds - sleeping in refrigerator boxes, meeting people, doing exactly as you wanted and no responsibilities.  Together, we would giggle and I could actually envision you with layers of colorful clothing, scarves, hats and purses.

We had some zillion interesting conversations ranging from nursing babies, to dying with dignity, and everything in between.  You listened, even when you had a very different opinion or belief and never once discounted my thoughts.  You definitely gave me your opinion, which was often different than mine, but we respected one another and were energized with the playful debate.  Even when my marriage ended to your son, you conveyed repeatedly, your love and support for me, your second daughter, and I am grateful to you for that and so much more.

When you had devastating losses, you held your head high, faithfully dug in, and privately processed your grief.  I felt honored when you would confide your heartbreak and pain, because you knew I understood because I had experienced  great loss also.  It was a privilege to be your friend.

Marjorie, you were an amazing, involved, loving grandmother to my children, the caring, thoughtful mother to the man I married and my children’s father, you were a devoted wife, authentic example of what a faithful Christian is, teacher, nurse, health practitioner, caring friend, adventurer and passionate liver of life.  And still, you found time to be my mentor and inspiration.   If ever there was anyone who lived life well, it was you, my friend!  I will forever strive to be like you…..

- Diana

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