I once chased after my mother’s car in the parking lot of my elementary school because I wasn’t feeling well and wanted her to take care of me. I don’t know what it took for her to drive away without me that day, but she did and taught me how to be tough in the process.
No one is tougher than Momma Ford. She’s the youngest of 11 and taking care of her older brothers and sisters has largely fallen on her shoulders. True to her character, she has never let any of them down. My uncles—Roland, Clifford, and Jimmy—all must have left more peacefully knowing that she was there to keep the Blanchette family together. While my mother, Tantes Lucille and Peewee, and my Uncle Bobby say there is no true “boss” of the family, everyone knows who is really in charge.
In my toast at my younger brother’s wedding, I said the following:
The Ford family has also been blessed with strong women. I’m sure most, if not all, of you in this room have met my mother. She’ll be the first to tell you that without women like her, as well as our grandmothers and aunts, that the Ford men would be lost in the tall grass.
Those words become truer with each passing year. I haven’t been a perfect son, but she has never once abandoned me and I know she never will. Thanks to her, I love deeply and passionately, I am a fiery Frenchman, and I am intensely loyal and true to the most important people in my life.
So I will raise a glass of wine to Gail Ford today—I really should toast with a wine cooler or Mike’s Hard Lemonade, but I just can’t do it—and thank her from the bottom of my heart for the life she has given me, and for protecting and loving that life with all of her being. I’ll also drink to my Mémère, Aunt Cathy, Tante Peewee, my Aunts Kathy and Ellen, my cousins Judy and Caryn, Grandmas Ford and Cassidy, and all the other incredible women that have blessed my life and made me the man I am today.
In further honor of Momma Ford—which I’m sure will embarrass the hell out of her—I’m including some of the poetry I wrote for her when I was in high school.
I love you Momma. I always will.
When I was lost in darkness,
you gave me light.
When I was grounded,
you gave me wings to fly.
When I was sick,
you were my medicine.
When I became tired,
you carried my world on your shoulders.
When I was tossed upon the ocean,
you were my safe harbor.
When my heart was broken,
you sewed together the pieces.
I could always count on you
to see my through my darkest hour.
You are my mother
and I owe you my life.
|Mémère Ford with Katie and Madeline|
The milk is gone…
because of me.
The milk you were to pour
on your strawberry covered cereal.
At one point or another,
someone was bound to drink it.
To be totally honest,
I’m not sorry it was me!
|Mémère shares a moment with her Jack|
Let the pretty lady be alone
with the thoughts she holds inside.
Let the pretty lady dance down
the travel along her path so tender.
Let the pretty lady reprimand the
people whom have caused her to stumble and tease.
Let the pretty lady share a secret
dance with her dark haired prince.
Let the pretty lady be the one to
show the world what power she holds for her three protectors.
Let the pretty lady be.
Let my pretty lady be.
|Momma Ford with her rock|
She waits with angelic patience
upon her arched wooden perch,
high above the harmful waters below.
All who proceed along the protected bridge
are helped along by her selfless, caring wings
and her watchful, caring eyes of sapphire.
She diligently prays each day and night
for her dark- haired prince to come
give her peace of mind and fill her heart with joy.
Her countenance brightens as he appears,
making his way unto her safe haven.
Before her answers are fulfilled at last,
he slips upon the slippery planks
and tumbles towards the menacing waters.
Without a thought of hesitation,
she extends her affectionate wings
and catches his falling form.
She smiles as she lifts him back unto her bridge,
guiding him to her patient heart.
|Momma Ford with all her boys.|