This is not the post I intended at the first of the year. This is what’s on my mind today… my mom, Cheryl Ann Leblanc Kerek. It’s the week of my mom’s 67th birthday and 3rd anniversary of her death. All in one week, yes. How bittersweet are the memories of my mom’s life.
At 16 years old, a junior in high school, she met my dad who was a 21 year old Marine. They met at Moonlight Inn after a night of ‘jitterbugging’ ; ) My dad was the son of a Hungarian strawberry farmer and hay baler, from the Northshore. My mom was the daughter of a French construction foreman and cabinet maker, family from New Orleans. Both my grandmother’s were total ‘coonass’, a Leblanc from Sorrento and Hebert from Pierre Part, LA. Yes, a Leblanc married a Leblanc.
Oh, how I wish I would have sat for many more hours, listening to the stories of my mom and dad’s dating. She was originally the envy of her friends, as according to her, my dad was the sweetest, most handsome dancer at the Moonlight Inn. Looking back on old pictures, I think my mom was the prettiest brown eyed, brown haired girl. My dad claims those eyes and those legs certainly caught his attention. He said she could follow his moves like no other!
She quickly became the ‘outcast’ at school and put out of the house by my grandparents. At that young 16 years old, she was pregnant for this handsome dancer at Moonlight Inn. Funny, as she didn’t recall how it happened? I will always laugh at the details of the night of conception. Oh my… so naive. By the age of 24, my mom had four children, and was the most devoted wife, mother, and homemaker. I can’t imagine starting a family so young, or working at home.
My mom was the most depressive pessimist I’ve known to date. Truly, on the brightest days, she could find the negative. Her health was never favorable. Not a single day. What a drain this put on our relationship. We talked most days on my way home from work. I can recall many, many times that she hung up on me saying “If I wanted your dad’s answer, I should have called your dad”. Sad.
The talent of this woman was huge. She was the master entertainer. My mom hosted the best parties… good decorations, good food, and great music. She took such pride in baking and cooking good meals, ready each day at 5p sharp! When Michael and I got married, she was in her element. In ways, I think this was the wedding she never experienced. I literally picked out the dress and walked up the aisle of St. Annes Catholic Church. That’s it, cause my Mom did everything else. Her passion for good music was so cool! She loved Saints football when they were the Aints, having fans in brown bags. She sided with the men in the family on most occasions.
The endless love for her children and grandchildren was beyond measure. My mom knew each of my children, and just ‘connected’ with them as individuals. You did not deny her the opportunity to spend time with them, not. Brock and Luke still talk of funny memories of Maw Maw Cheryl. Mom and Dru Elizabeth must be having a grand time in Heaven. I totally see those two socializing away, and her healthy and happy… finally.
Noone making fun of my sock basket. Noone trading leftovers. Noone ‘called me out’ quicker. Noone respected me more for my independence. Noone complimented me more, and showed more pride for a daughter. I see so much of my mom in myself, but feel I’ve ‘broken the mold’ to be more. I do miss those afternoon phone calls. I miss my boys having her here. I will always love my Mom, because of her love for me 🙂