LOVELAND, OH (January 29, 2021) – Mom was a 5’2” Jewish-born woman whose husband left her with two young children.

Brian Martin, Christian,Son, Husband, Father, Survivor, Business owner, neighbor (Photo Courtesy Brian Martin)

She was the toughest woman I ever met. If she was afraid, I never saw it. She could give me a look that made it abundantly clear if I pushed any farther, she’d knock me out with one punch. I still pressed her to the limit often. Luckily, I was a fast runner back then so; I could outrun her until she calmed down.

Don’t get me wrong, she was a hugger, too. She knew when we needed a hug and knew when we needed a kick in the pants. From my perspective, I was the one typically getting the kick while my brother Jay got the hugs.


From her life experience, she knew life would be tough. So, growing up was like training camp. If she walked in the room and I was sitting on the couch, it would be short lived. “Brian, what are you doing? The grass needs cutting and there is laundry to do,” she would quickly instruct. Even if I mowed the grass two days earlier, in her mind it needed to be cut again.

Cutting our lawn was like I was training for the landscaping Olympics. Every time I finished cutting and she would hear that lawnmower engine shut off, outside she’d come. “Brian,” she would ask, “Is that the absolute very best job you could do?” There was no good answer, I was stuck. If I said yes, she would vehemently disagree. So back to the garage I would go to pull out the old mower again. “If you’re going to do something, why not just do it your absolute best?” Boy, I got tired of hearing that.

It didn’t matter if it was schoolwork or running around the block to her time clock when training for track. “Was that your very best effort?” When coming home from a friend’s house it was, “Did you say please and thank you? If I find out you didn’t say thank you, you will be doing dishes for a month.”

In winter it was my job to warm up mom’s car before she had to leave for work, a task I hated as a little kid. As I got older though, I learned to take pride in the task. I would start up that old VW, roll it out of the old wood garage, and crank up the heat. It never got warm enough for the defroster to work so, I had to scrape the windows on the outside and then on the inside. As I walked to school, it felt good knowing mom had a little warmer ride to work.

Maybe I am alone in this, but we really never talked about Republicans and Democrats. My mom never told me not to like someone because they were for a different political party. She never told my brother and me not to like someone or not to hang around someone because of their beliefs. She never once, not one time, talked negatively about another race or religion.

I couldn’t tell you what political party she was for or against. Sending us to Catholic schools and to Catholic mass was more about keeping us out of trouble than for any religious reason, though I am certainly grateful for the Christian foundation.  We were never taught to hate. I cannot recall that word ever used growing up.

We were poor, though we hid it well. Mom was always so busy trying to figure out how there was always more month than money. I wore the same two pair of corduroy slacks and the same school shoes every day. But thankfully, most kids didn’t pay that much attention. It’s funny looking back now, my mom drove a yellow 1970 Volkswagen Square-back that had so many “Bondo” patches and rust spots there wasn’t much yellow showing anymore.

Working harder than anyone around you and treating people (especially adults) with respect were the non-negotiables. Not liking someone had nothing to do with skin color or political beliefs.

I see mom’s attributes in my both of my kids. When I would watch my daughter play basketball or son play baseball, I know mom was looking down making sure they were giving it their absolute best.

Mom has been gone for many years now, but when we’re finishing a major kitchen or bath remodel, her voice still rings in my head. “Yes Mom, the lines are straight, I say ‘Thank you’ as often as I can, and I treat everyone with respect.”  Perhaps this world could use a little mom advice right now.

Brian Martin has lived in Loveland since 1999 and is married with two children. He is the owner of TMC Construction Services here in Loveland. Brian is available to text, email at brian@TMCBuild.com, or chat with anyone who needs prayers or just an ear.