our first snowstorm

My mother, Jean Lane Taylor, was so many things to me: best friend, confidante, and cheerleader. After my dad’s death, our household consisted of just the two of us. Of course, we were mother and daughter, but we were also like girlfriends as I grew older. We traveled together, shopped together, and attended events together. I loved her wit and sense of humor and I admired her strength, although I don’t think she ever thought of herself as strong. She showed strength in the way she dealt with everyday life, took care of our home, and raised me alone after my dad died.

I will always remember the way she supported me by agreeing to stay in our home. My world was rocked by my dad’s sudden death. Adding to my grief was my mom’s desire to sell our home because of the burden she associated with its upkeep. My dad had always played the hands-on role in our home; my mom grew up in NYC apartments and really didn’t care for the more suburban lifestyle. I begged her not to force more changes upon me and she conceded. Together, we figured out how to be good homeowners and she lived in that home for over 40 years.

During our first winter on our own, we survived the Blizzard of 1978.  It was marked by record winds and snowfall: baptism by snow for my mom and me! We shoveled, came inside to warm up, then repeated this cycle until we finally cleared the snow. Some of our neighbors helped, but they had lots of their own snow to remove. My dad had bailed us out the prior winter; we probably helped a little, but our participation had always been optional. Until 1978, I remembered loving the snow and associated it with making angels and snowmen, having snowball fights with my friends, and hoping for a day off from school. My mom knew what she was agreeing to when she said we could stay in our home, but I had no idea! Of course, snow was only one aspect of home maintenance, but it was a memorable one. My mom was so selfless in that way; on so many occasions, she made choices that were good for our family, even if they were uncomfortable for her.

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