A Mother’s Love – Mary Beaton (Oct. 25, 1937-June 27, 1993)

So… Here we are twenty-five years since I said goodbye for the last time to my mom. Wow, that’s hard to believe – a quarter century, and just under one half of my life!

Twenty-one days ago I posted about my dad’s passing by featuring a really cool song by Owl City (Adam Young), Not All Heros Wear Capes, and here we are about three weeks shy of one year prior to my dad’s death facing the death of my first of two (kinda obvious) parents. Instead of an Owl City song, I’m using a Jim Brickman song, A Mother’s Love, with a bunch of Disney clips to commemorate my mom.

You gave me the roots to start this life
and then you gave me wings to fly
And I learned to dream
Because you believed in me
There’s no power like it on this earth
No treasure equal to its worth
The gift of a mother’s love
I thank God for a mother’s love

Twenty-five years ago, I worked for Walt Disney World as a Sr. Show Producer for Corporate Meetings. Barely thirty years old, lots of dreams ahead of me. By this time, I not only worked for Disney full-time, but I’d already started a few corporations with some friends. Integreted Innovations, Inc. introduced a product that synchronized fireworks at Disney to music in the Epcot Showcase Lagoon show and was used by the National Film Board of Canada to synchronize language translations for films, and was a consultant to a handful of clients in Orlando for their IT/technology needs, including a project code-named “Interact” which would have provided real-time information on everything there was to do in Central Florida and other major cities around the country. Still to be dreamed, at that time, were two other companies I would lead, Blue Moon Interactive, Inc. and Industrial Artistry, Inc., both involved with the Internet and digital media projects.

How could a twenty-something-year-old kid have started three legitimate corporations!? Not to mention a few, non-corporate DBAs, providing services like voice-mail for small businesses before it was available on every cell phone! I have to contribute a lot of this early success and drive to my mom. If there was one person in my life who (a) never gave up on me, (b) always put up with my crap, and (c) always was my biggest fan, I’d have to say it was my mom. When my mom passed away, she was only 55 years old; I am 56 years old as I write this, and three months away from being 57. Who would have thought, when I was in my early twenties that I’d be saying goodbye to my mom just ten years later. Afterall, I was still in that “ten-feet tall, bulletproof” mindset when I got the call from my brother that all was not well in parentville (yeah, made up word – spell-checker is freaking out).

So, let’s go back and look at what kind of mom my mother was to me in my early years.

Before I was born, my mom had a condition which caused her to be partially paralyzed from the waist down due to the way she was carrying me. As a result, she needed assistance to move around. It was suggested that she should have an abortion since it was causing so many problems for her health; but, my mom and dad decided it was worth it to proceed with the pregnancy, so… let the fun begin! About six months into my mom’s pregnancy, my parents were at her parents (my grandparents, for those who have family tree comprehension difficulty). They were watching TV (btw, I don’t personally remember this, obviously, but was told by my mom) and she began to experience contractions. Initially, this was dismissed by my dad and grandfather until one of them noticed that my mom wasn’t just having indigestion or something like it. Finally, dad and grandfather jumped in the car to race to the hospital, at the end of the street they realized that the most important passenger wasn’t with them (remember, she needed help to walk?); they turned around, picked her up with laughter and tears, and headed to the hospital. On the way, a police officer attempted to stop them for either speeding or going through stop signs, my grandfather ignored them which caused them to realize it must be a medical emergency based on their route. At the hospital, my mom was given muscle relaxers to, hopefully, reverse the birthing process. Finally, she seemed to be responding and my dad was sent home to get some sleep and to get himself cleaned up, with the assurance nothing would happen. Yeah, right! Those who know me will also know that “nothing will happen” is NOT EVER an option!

Well, at some point I decided, whether the world was ready for me or not, I was ready for the world. During labor, my mom passed out and I was born was born without a c-section. Remember, this was the really early 60’s, I was three months premature; the doctors, and there were many in the room, didn’t want to injure mom or “Baby Boy Beaton” (yes, that’s what’s on the birth certificate) in the delivery. The day after I was born my mom’s GP came in to see how she was doing, but he wobbled into the room with a full leg cast and crutches. After finding out how my mom was doing, she asked what happened to him since yesterday. He responded by saying, things were so hectic in the delivery room with the doctors, specialists, and nurses, that at one point something fell to the floor, he slipped and broke his leg. My mom then inquired about a chest soreness she had, to which he introduced a “large” nurse, “Mary, after you had passed out, when you had contractions, this was the lady who laid on you and rolled to match your contractions. Your son was born naturally, without a c-section.”

At this point, 1960’s convention was to place a preemie in an incubator with heat and pure oxygen, since the lungs hadn’t fully formed. For me, the nurses in the neo-natal ward decided that the ugly, tiny, purple baby was cute; they decided to hold me, cuddle me, rock me, and walk with me, using their own body heat to keep me warm. Now, it is understood, the use of these techniques (the pure oxygen environment) can cause many complications including cerebral palsy, blindness, crippling side-effects, etc.

How blessed am I! It appears that I had some:
  • Really cool parents, who, against the recommendations, decided to keep me.
  • Really cool nurses, who, against protocol, decided to hold me.
  • Really cool parents, who decided to teach me and give me the freedom to make mistakes, so I would learn (yeah, still had to deal with the ten-foot-tall, bulletproof mindset).
  • Really cool doctors and a nurse, who decided it was worth having a normal delivery.

Some more stuff I’ve learned from my parents:

  • Things aren’t always what they seem to be. Even though things sometimes seem really tough, don’t give in to the whims of those without the wisdom and experience to stay the course. If my parents listen to the recommendations, I would have been aborted out of convenience.
  • Even though guarding the safety of your kids can sometimes hurt really bad, keep on doing it. It’s often easier to be your child’s best friend, but realistically speaking, they have lots of best friends, but only two parents. Who’s gonna take care of them if you don’t!?
  • When life inside the home is stable, life outside the home will be surmountable. If your parents are consistent with the rules inside the house, you will have no problem adhering to them outside the house. Trust, reliability, and a real role model are priceless.
  • Know when to let go, and when to hold close. I can’t tell you how many times I stated, “but my friends…,” only to be followed by “but we aren’t your friend’s parents,” would resound from our home. Parents need to be stubborn when ideals and values are involved, but when the other end of the deal is a scrapped kneed; learn to just let go!

So, remember I worked for Disney until after my mom’s death, so all she ever knew was that her son worked for Disney, and she was so proud and excited about that. She would tell people I lived in Florida, worked in Italy, often had dinner in the UK, France, Mexico, Norway, Japan, Germany, and, of course, the United States. Ironically, she wasn’t lying figuratively and literally; Epcot Center (back then) and travel for the company fulfilled all of her claims.

My mom wasn’t perfect, but the gift of a mother’s love… there’s no power like it on this earth!

As a tribute to my mom’s love for Disney, and me working there, check out this video, “A Mother’s Love” – Disney style.

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