A Mother Standing Tall

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A Mother Standing Tall
A Commemorative Speech
by Brittany Johnsen
Advanced Speech Comm.
12 April 2005
When I was younger, in my middle school years, I would get so angry at her for being my mother. She didn’t teach me how to shave my legs; I had to learn from my best friend. Mom’s are supposed to teach their daughters how to shave their legs. Mine didn’t. When I first started wearing make-up it wasn’t because she brought me into her room and carefully showed me how to blend soft brown eye shadow into pink on my eyelid. Mom’s are supposed to teach their daughters how to wear make-up. Mine didn’t. I didn’t know girls wore smelly lotions or perfume until I realized my best friend’s mom always had a sweet, pleasant vanilla aroma when I snuggled next to her on the couch to watch movies at sleepovers. She gave me my first bottle of smelly lotion. Mom’s are supposed to teach their daughters how to be a girl. Mine didn’t. In so many ways, as a naïve 13 year old, I saw only the ways my mother had failed me, because she didn’t use tropical smelling shaving cream, she didn’t wear pinks and browns, and she never, ever smelled like vanilla. Elain Heffner once said, “The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.” Although my mother may not have taught me the art of being a girl on the outside, as I look back not only on my own life, but also on the obstacles she has overcome and the odds she has beaten in hers, I realize she has truly taught me the art of being a woman. When my mother was born, she did not know her father. Both her mother and father were alcoholics and divorced when she was two weeks old. At her father’s funeral, when she was seven, there was no one present except her mother, her older brother and sister, and herself. Although she begged my grandmother to let her gaze into the coffin to see what her father looked like, her mother refused, saying he wasn’t worth her time. He was buried in...
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