Friday, May 6, 2011

I Heart My Mama

I told my friend, Katie, I would dedicate my next blog to her. Sorry, Katie, but I'm a big, fat liar. I promise you'll get the next one, dear! Instead, I'm dedicating this blog to my amazing mother.

Mother's Day is just around the corner and my hometown's local radio station offered a Mother's Day contest this week. There are so many wonderful moms in our little community, so I didn't know if my mama would be able to pull off the victory. (Well, in my heart of hearts I knew she would because she is just that awesome!) In order to nominate her, I had to write a short essay on why she's the "best, most deserving mom of all." I knew instantly what I would write. I thought I'd post it on zee ol' blog for all to enjoy. I only wish my words could give her more justice.

When I think of my mother, Jan Schwager, three words automatically come to mind: courage, strength and love.

My mother’s courage began in 1972, when she moved to Chambers to begin her career as a school teacher. My mom grew up in Elkhorn, so moving to Chambers seemed completely irrational to her friends and family back in Southeast Nebraska. After a couple of miserable years of living in a one-bedroom trailer in Chambers (not that Chambers isn’t the greatest place in the world!), my mom met a smooth-talkin’ country boy, who swept her off of her feet – my father, Gene.

My parents got married in 1975 and had their first daughter, Gina, in 1977. In 1979, my parents had a son, Jeff, and my mom took off work to raise her family. However, my parents were struck with terrible tragedy in their newlywed stage. In 1983, my mother’s father died of a heart attack at a very young age. Then, just a year later, my parents lost their only son in a tragic snowmobile accident.

The death of a child often tears families apart, but my mother’s strength and courage held my family together through even the darkest times. My mother went back to work, helped provide for her family, and put a smile on her face despite the pain. After all, she had a young daughter and a grieving husband to take care of.

Just three short years after my brother’s death, my parents had two more daughters – me and my sister, Jacy. Despite having two young daughters, my mom never lost sight of her career goals and decided to take classes the University of Nebraska at Kearney to complete her Master’s degree. Upon completion, my mom became the guidance counselor at Chambers.

My mom wears many hats at Chambers – English teacher, geography teacher, guidance counselor. She even teaches college-credit classes through Northeast Community College at 7 a.m. every other day. Oh – not to mention – she is one of the school’s administrators. But her passion for teaching has never, EVER prevented her from being a tremendous mother. Even after a long day at work, my mom would have time to cook supper, clean the house and help my sister and me with our homework. Somehow she even attended every single athletic event my sisters and I participated in – and those bleachers aren’t comfortable!

Even though I’ve been far away from home for nearly six years, my mom’s love has never wavered. I always look forward to my daily chat with her. She understands my busy lifestyle, so she even learned how to text, Facebook, Skype and Twitter to keep our family connected at all times.

There is so much more I wish I could say about my mother. And, there is so much more I wish I could give back to my mother for all of the courage, strength and love she has provided to my family. I hope by winning KBRX’s Mother’s Day gift basket, my mother would finally see how amazing she is. I only hope to someday be half the mother my mother has been.

Thank you, Mama Schwag, for always being my light, guidance, and friend. And, perhaps, for giving me one of my greatest gifts --- my words. Happy Mother's Day, Mama Schwag! I love you!

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