Norma DeSimone

Oh, Norma! What to say about Norma?  She’s a hoot.  Everyone who knows her absolutely loves her.  She’s fun and funny and loves to laugh.  Nothing gives her greater joy than feeding her family and sending us away with leftovers.  Nothing.  Except perhaps her taking claim to Brian and I getting married, as you will see on this video.

The thing that’s so cool about my mom is that she just accepts things as they are.  She always has.  If something is negative, rather than fighting it, she just accepts it and finds the best possible way to make the best of it.  She recently ended a 17-year stint working in management with a large company.  Through these years, she worked countless 60+ hour weeks, supervised over 40 employees at one time, and dealt with a myriad of HR issues, countless employees illnesses from working in close quarters, and bouncing between two languages.  And she came home every night with a smile on her face and enthusiasm to cook a twilight meal, lend a listening ear, and deal with a discouraged kid.  She worked only so my brother and I could go to a private university of our choice and give us so many extra things that have helped us succeed.  And one day, a couple of months ago, her work thanked her for her hard work and 17 years of service and let her go in a large-scale corporate layoff.
And in true Norma fashion, she picked herself up by her boot straps and has now entered into the world of job searching like a pro, accepting that this is just the way it is, and making the best of it.  She’s finding joy in getting dinner on the table by 6 p.m., learning how to navigate technology, getting more fit by working out at the gym numerous times per week and shopping for her new granddaughter.  Oh yes, and Dr. Oz..she’s discovered daytime television as well.
When Norma found out that I had a gentleman caller who was 12-years-older than I, never once did she mention this being an issue.  Rather, she gave me the lecture on how I’ve always been an old soul and couldn’t have actually been successful with a guy my own age, so this is just perfect.  And praise God, only Norma has a way to talk with Joe and get him aboard things that he might not have been aboard at first, so that was a non-issue in our family.
So when Norma found out that she was going to be a Nonni (grandma), she accepted it as it was, with gusto and enthusiasm for her new “baby.”  When we were telling her that this child wasn’t a baby and that she was blind, she was nearly in tears of joy.  When dad asked how old Yiyi was, mom said “is she 9? I have a feeling she might be 9-years-old,” with absolutely no prompting or foresight that she would, in fact, be 9.
Never once has Norma said that she’s sad she’s missing the call that her baby is having a baby and that we all must rush to the hospital.  Never once has she indicated anything less than over-the-top enthusiasm for buying size 6 and 7 clothing, rather than a newborn layette. Never once has she differentiated that our child will be adopted and not our biological baby who we are not getting from Day 1.  And never once has she greeted this adoption with anything except the same overwhelming support and love as she always has.
Because that’s Norma.  This is the way it is and she loves it.  And if she doesn’t, you’ll never know because quite frankly, she will never even know herself.  It’s just the way it is.
I really can only aim to be half the mom she is, because even if I was only half, Yiyi would still be pretty fortunate and turn out great.  She’s an amazing person and role-model for what it means to be 100% devoted to her family.  I have a lot to learn about being a mom, but of all people to learn from, I’m getting to learn from the best.