Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm feeling left out...

So I have to post a picture of my mom for Mother's Day. :)

mom and me
Mom and I in Chickaloon.

She looks twelve, but that's just because Eskimo's age gracefully! If she ever believed in dying her hair, or knew what makeup was, she'd still look thirty. I hope (OH I HOPE) I have her genes!

My mom came from a time where confusion was at its all time high. She grew up at Sisualik and went to school here at the Kotzebue BIA school. There she was taught not to speak her language, that being an Eskimo was bad.

She went from Inupiaq speaker, skin sewer, berry picker, caribou hunter, to knowing how to read the English Language, and do math on paper. She's a math WHIZZ, seriously, just ask her to convert anything and she'll do the math in her head. I love listening to her talk, because she still says the letter "H" like this..."Ehtch" :) And still says Tortilla, like it sounds. Tor-Till-uh

mom and saima
My sister and her...I think she's around thirty in this pic.

She didn't go to college, she, like many other Eskimo's were required to help raise their family. She has worked hard her entire life, and still to this day works hard. She started working at age 17 (told them she was 18) and retired at age 39 from that job, then went on to another job, and she's about to retire this year from that job.

Here is my mother's typical day: get up at 5:15, let the dog out (her baby), feed her dog, take a shower, walk to work (or take her car if its warm enough), open the kitchen and be ready to feed 400 kids breakfast by 8:00 a.m. She makes everything from scratch, just like her mother did, and wouldn't have it any other way. Once a week, she makes 400 loaves of bread, from scratch using the recipe in her head, and measuring sugar and yeast by the "handfulls" not by the cup.

mom at dog races
Last year at the Dog Races

She walks to her mom's house, during her morning break, and brings her breakfast, cleans up after her, and walks back to work.

Then she gets ready to feed 650 kids lunch. After lunch, everything is cleaned and sanitized (seriously, she makes my hands chafe when I help out from all that sanitizing, I try to always get out of that job!) and again walks to her mom's house to feed her lunch. She gets off work at one thirty in the afternoon. After lunch, she usually does some running around for my aana (her mom) and goes to the Post Office, store, bank, etc. and always goes to let Onni out (her dog). At two fifty in the afternoon, she goes back to the school to pick up my Kindergartener, and my 2nd grade niece. From there, she goes to the gymnasium to run the Basketball Program for 3rd-5th grades. By six pm, she is home, and making dinner for her home family. My cousin lives with her, and my dad is in Chickaloon building a cabin, so its just her, Charlotte and my sister Elsa now.

mom and dad

She feeds Onni again (yes, she's fat) and takes about a three mile walk with her every single night. Then by nine-thirty she is in bed, ready for the next day.

Now, this doesn't include laundry, cleaning, and the sort, because I don't know when she has TIME to do any of that. I'm just grateful that she taught me that it was OK to be Inupiaq. She wanted me to learn the language, learn to sew (I made my first pair of mittens and doll at age six) both skins and cloth with a sewing machine, and she made SURE I knew that education was important. Gone were the days of chastising, and punishment for being a native.

The best part of my mom is that she does all that with no complaints. When I call and say, "mom, I need a ride to school." (Because I'm too lazy to walk the mile) She comes. And she still loves me even after I left home at age 18 (literally the DAY I turned 18 at 6:00 am) and didn't come back until I was running away from my then-husband, with a child in tow three years later. She still welcomed me with open arms. (And I swear my son is "HER SON." Just ask her.)

mom and ahlu
Her and my daughter, her namesake...

Thank you momma. Quyaanan Aaka, Quvainagli Aakang Uvlua. (Thank you so much mom, Happy Mother's Day)

P.S. I got her a rose and a box of whoppers, she was SOOO Happy!


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful tribute to your mother!

indigo said...

Wonderful tribute to a very wonderful mother. You are both so lucky to have and know each other so well.

Trish said...

Your mom is COOL! I could not believe it when she told me how old she was, she does look so young.

And everything about her kitchen is so true. It is the cleanest school kitchen I have ever seen and her food is the best school food I've ever eaten!

Such a sweet tribute.

Ms. ~K said...

It sounds like you have a mother and a friend...You are very fortunate!

Anonymous said...


Well done and I have to say that this piece speaks of how well she raised you. Always say thanks and being grateful for what you have.

Your mother did well and I have to say that you are carrying on that tradition.


Rocksee said...

This is a very sweet post.

Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...

What a nice post, and blog! And your mom looks so young (and beautiful) in those first pictures!