Written By: Paula Walton
Dedicated to: Fran Damario
I have said my mother has the elegance and beauty of Jackie Kennedy, the faith and generous heart of Mother Teresa, the humour and eccentricity of Ellen Degeneres and a mind like Albert Einstein.
Wait . . . did I say a mind like Einstein? I take that back. I can’t possibly compare my mother . . . thee Fran Damario . . . to Einstein. Not when she’s been known to pick up a TV controller, press the buttons, hold it up to her ear and then ask why the phone doesn’t work or advise someone to just fax money.
Needless to say, her time-to-time slip-of-the-mind or discombobulation—something her children and grandchildren like to warm-heartedly tease her about—is one of the things that I love about her. It simply adds character to the amazing person that my mom is. What’s one flaw anyway?
God has blessed me with a mother who is an incredible role model. I see first-hand how very well-respected she is—within the very large family she comes from, within the Irish community she has spent her entire life in, the co-workers she spent more than 25 years working with, and the enormous circle of life-long friends that she has and holds dear.
Her generosity and compassion shines brightly through volunteering and whipping up meals or home-made baking for others. She is always available when I need her, whether it’s to drive our kids to hockey or listen to me babble.
Not only is my mom’s strong work ethic and loyalty reflected throughout our homestead, having the opportunity to work alongside her in my grandma’s catering business and at a local manufacturer for many years, allowed me to see how hard my mom works, how committed she is to excelling in any position, and respecting the people she works with.
In passion and partnership with my dad, my mom created a home for four children that was always filled with faith, family, friends, fun, laughter, sarcasm, music and, of course, love expressed in immeasurable ways. It now embraces two adored son-in-laws, two beloved daughter-in-laws, and ten delightful grandchildren.
Like every family, even those with the strongest relationships, we experience hardships, frustrations, and tough love—mom’s strong faith, patience, and devotion is the crazy glue that keeps us together through it all!
About nine years ago, my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. It was unsettling and devastating news, without question. Not long after my dad’s diagnosis, my mom stopped by—the unexpected drop-ins usually mean ‘big news’. My first thought was that my parents ramped up their zest for life and she was going to announce that she was pregnant! No, that wasn’t it. She broke the news that she had cancer too, but with treatment there was a good chance she would be okay.
As mom was challenged with not only my dad’s illness but her own as well, I saw strength and courage in her that I had yet to see in all my years. Even through this difficult time, she put my dad, her children, and grandchildren first. Without question, she left everything in God’s hands.
My mom’s cancer battle was won. My dad’s courageous fight lasted nearly two years. In their children’s eyes, dad was heroic—so remarkably brave and faith inspiring—and my mom was deserving of the very same praise. Mom just lost the love of her life, yet strengthening her faith, taking care of her grieving family, and her own mother (whose health was deteriorating) was her priority. How unselfishly incredible!
No matter how life changes along the way, no matter what we celebrate or no matter what grief we experience, my mom has instilled in her children and grandchildren, that our family is and forever will be rooted in GOD—through every lesson, every conversation, and through every form of advice along the way.
I am blessed!
Paula Walton is the oldest child of four siblings, a sister and two brothers. She is a devoted wife and an enthusiastically proud mother of a 16-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son. Outside of working full-time as the Alumni Officer at Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario, Paula enjoys spending time with her kids—which includes a lot of time in a rink watching her kids play competitive hockey and lacrosse—a little time playing the piano, and date nights with her husband. What is important in life for Paula is what has been passed on from her mother and her grandmother—establishing a solid foundation for her family built on faith in God and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
“Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it.” ~ Proverbs 22:6