By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation
I keep a photo on my desk at work—a timeless reminder of the family in which I was raised. It was taken at my Aunt Mary’s house—and it was one of the rare times my mother made it into the picture. After all, she was usually the one snapping the photos.
The photo depicts how I would like to remember my mother—in a lovely white dress emblazoned with flowers. She is smiling a kind of Mona Lisa smile, with my father and my sister beside her. She is the epitome of beauty and grace and all that is good and honorable in the world.
Her life was not without some significant struggles. Illness broke her own family apart when she was eight years old, and she was sent to live with an elderly aunt who soon determined that child care was beyond her capabilities. My mother crisscrossed the state again to begin living with a family friend and her daughter.
When she married, her new husband lost his job and the couple was plunged into poverty. It was during this time that she found out she was pregnant. She persevered in her pregnancy and I was welcomed into the world nine months later.
Not long after that, my mother found herself pregnant again. The financial struggles were monumental. And yet, her mother-in-law presented her with a toast and said, “Anne, I salute you!” I will always be grateful for the child who followed, my beloved little sister.
My mother had way with words—after all, her high school yearbook predicted she would become an editor. She also served as a teenage reporter at her local city newspaper.
I will never forget an incident when I was six years old. My mother, sister, and I were walking in our neighborhood and I happened to use the term “ain’t.” My mother informed me I was never to use such ungrammatical language. Maybe my life as a writer was born in that moment.
It has been many years since my mother passed away. But her dreams of faith and family live on in me. I owe her a debt of profound gratitude for the lessons she taught me—mostly by example. And I treasure her vibrant memory forever in my heart.
This Mother’s Day, I salute my mother and all the women who, through their motherhood, have made the world a more compassionate place. Their love powers humanity and brings joy to our homes, our communities, and our country