Greater Than Ourselves: Reflecting on My Strong & Generous Mom & Voting for the Greater Good by Leanne Ast

3 years ago

Greater Than Ourselves: Reflecting on My Strong & Generous Mom & Voting for the Greater Good

I was an only child on paper only. There was never a time my house wasn't filled with people. Not just people that looked like me. Not just people that came from the same economic class and not just people that have the same family life.

My mom, Robin, showed me every single day of her short 46 years how important it is think of others. Above anything, our home was your home. Our food was your food and our family was your family.

One of my first memories was shortly before Christmas in first grade. I saw the most beautiful Barbie sitting on the kitchen table (most likely next to a pack of Misty Menthols and a Pepsi). I asked who it was for and she told me it was a secret gift for a little girl who wasn't going to have a good Christmas. I was disappointed, but still hopeful I would have one under my tree.

Christmas Eve night we drove to a house that was much nicer than ours and dropped off the Barbie. I was filled with rage. They had a big house with a playground in the backyard and she was getting my Barbie.

I never got the Barbie I wanted under my tree, although I had 100 other gifts. I didn't have that and some rich kid had her. I stomped over the thousands of dollars’ worth of toys and sat in the kitchen.

Robin came in there and told me first, what a brat I was and, second, that this person’s life wasn't what it looked like on the outside. Her mom was sick. They moved in with grandma and grandpa and her dad was gone. There was no one to even go shopping for her. My mom told me she wished that little girl could have everything I had.

She wished that so that everyone could be happy not because she wanted to steal my joy. She didn't wish I had less so someone else could have more. She just wished there was more equity.

I don't remember a single holiday that wasn't revolved around giving. Fourth of July we had a party. Halloween she made giant spider webs and gauze ghosts. Christmas, well that was in a league of it's own. She organized neighborhood Easter egg hunts. Handmade gifts for every wedding and newborn. It was all about giving to others even if it meant she had less time, money and energy for herself.

A relative recently said to me that she can't believe we have such different values and be in the same family. Maybe we just took different lessons from our experiences.

While, sadly, my mom isn’t alive to see the amazing result of this historic election, I'm confident she would have been the family black sheep like me and voted for someone who sees it's about something much greater than himself.

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Elisa Schmitz
Oh, Leanne Ast , I have tears in my eyes. I absolutely love this reflection on your awesome mom and I wish I could have met her. She sounds amazing, and the apple certainly didn't fall far from the tree. Love you! XOXO
This is really sweet and very true.
Ann Marie Patitucci
What a beautiful memory of your mom. Thanks for sharing it with us, Leanne Ast . It really resonated with me.

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