My Mother Planned to Name Me Wendy

My mother planned to name me Wendy.

But, when her Ukrainian mother-in- law came to visit her in the hospital shortly after my birth, she misheard the name as Windy. Her response was not positive. 

My Baba said somewhat scornfully — and you’ll need to read this with a thick Ukrainian accent — “Windy? Who ever heard of a baby named Windy?”

As a result, my mother decided to name me after her younger sister and I became Brenda.

While I like the name Wendy, there is something special about being a namesake especially when the person you are named after is someone as joyful, energetic, and funny as my Aunt Brenda Branson Geiger.

When I was five, I remember her coming to our house on the evening my Uncle Lew proposed. It was quite late but she was so excited she climbed the stairs to my bedroom, woke me up, and flashed that ring. 

She was the one who taught me how to avoid peas (her least favourite food) and swirl and smoosh ice cream before eating it. As I got older, she trusted me enough to babysit her children.

Throughout the years, both she and my sweet mother, Wilma, always made it a priority to nurture their relationship with one another, their brother, and their respective families. 

So, as one might imagine, when my mother’s sister passed away recently after a long and painful decline, it was difficult for all.

It was especially hard for my mother who lost her husband — my stepfather— just barely a year ago, as well as her brother several years before that.

And yet, despite her struggles and loss, my mother continues to give to others.

She carries on with her volunteer work, takes care of her family, and maintains and builds a circle of loving and caring friends.

My mom is also working hard to invest in her physical health knowing that eating well, taking vitamins, getting enough sleep, and regular physical activity are an essential foundation for the quality of life she wants to live.

Her aquasize classes and weekly walks with members of a self-help group for those who have lost a spouse, are also part of a social network and community that brings her connections and comfort. 

All in all, the lessons I’ve learned from both my aunt and my mother have been extraordinarily valuable. But, by far the most important, is what they’ve taught me about the importance of unconditional love.

Regardless of what has, or will happen in my life, I always know for sure that my mother loves and accepts me just as I am. She is our family’s number one fan who praises us for our successes and cheers us when we are down.

Without a doubt it is, and continues to be, the greatest gift a mother can ever give their child — the gift and the lesson of unconditional love. I am blessed to have that in my life.

Thank you and Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Posted on 05-05-13


That was the nicest, kindest, most loving letter I have ever read and I feel so fortunate to be a part of this great family.
From your cuz,
Mary-Lou Watkins

•Posted by Mary-Lou Watkins  on  05/12/13  at  08:27 PM

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