Celebrating Mom: A Son's Mother’s Day Reflection On Strength & Resilience by Dieter Schmitz


Celebrating Mom: A Son's Mother’s Day Reflection On Strength & Resilience

Last week, we celebrated the 95th birthday of meine Mutter! And this week, we get to raise a glass to her yet again for Mother’s Day.

Born in 1929 in Ulm, Germany, the lovely River Danube city also home to Albert Einstein, my mother, Liselotte Kunz Schmitz, who lovingly goes by “Lilo,” grew up in the battlefields of World War II Germany.

She often retells the horrible bombing of her hometown during the closing months of World War II. The heaviest raid was on December 17, 1944 (the third Sunday of Advent is how my mother remembers the bombing), which killed and injured hundreds and left 25,000 homeless. By the end of the war, fewer than 2,000 of the city’s 12,000 buildings were intact. My mother’s family home and business, a tannery, were in ruins.

Yet, the landmark of Ulm, the Münster, the tallest German cathedral and spire whose 768 steps had been climbed many times by my mother, an energetic girl, was still intact. Perhaps, a symbol of strength – though maybe spared as a navigational marker for the Allied bombers.

My mother’s resilience has inspired our entire family. For her, VE Day was celebrated three days after her 16th birthday. She finished her education, helped her family rebuild then later met a young GI, from New Ulm, Minnesota – the sister city of Ulm, Germany.

She bravely boarded a ship to America, leaving her family behind, to marry the Minnesota native, my dear father, her husband of 50 years. Together they raised their family of five children in a farm town near New Ulm and are blessed with more than a dozen grandchildren.

Mutti’s resilience has come through at so many times. From the bombings of World War II to leaving her parents behind to follow her love to the States. From her wedding knowing only the groom to laying him to rest 50 years later ravaged by Lewy Body Dementia and Parkinson’s.

Today, she proudly shares “I have no pain” – though I’m sure she does. She just doesn’t want to burden anyone. She’s strong. She’s brave. She’s resilient. She’s meine Mutti, loved by me and so many others, and she inspires us all.

Happy Mother’s Day, dear Lilo, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms. I raise my glass to you! 

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Elisa Schmitz
Beautiful tribute to Lilo! Your beloved mother is the epitome of courage, grace, beauty and strength. She inspires me every day and I love her so much. Happy Mother’s Day to amazing Lilo and to all the moms! ❤️
Tammy Read
Beautiful! Lilo is clearly a strong woman who inspires and loves beyond measure and is truly loved back. Loved reading this❤️
Kathy Ast
Beautiful piece, Dieter Schmitz ! Love the similarities between your mom and my dad. ❤️🤩
Jan Mostrom
I love this post Dieter Schmitz ! What a beautiful mom you have and I love learning more about Lilo!

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