When we attended open mike night at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville a couple of weeks ago, one of the songwriters performed a song she had written about Mother’s Day, and the chorus to paraphrase was something like, “it should be more than one day. Why not the whole month of May?” She then went on to list some of the things her mom had done for her. So that inspired me to list all of the things my mom has given to me. Because let’s face it, our moms give us so much from the time we are children, and continue to do so even when we are supposed to be all grown up. Because even as a grown up, I still need my mom. This list of course is infinite so I will try and limit myself.
My mom gave me (and my brothers) a brown bag lunch every school day all the way through high school. Except for Fridays. On Fridays she took the day off and gave us lunch money. I guess the good news for my mom is that it was in the days before Pinterest, so she did not have to be creative with our lunches. We were happy with peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches, maybe with some pretzels, a piece of fruit and a little treat. But every weekday morning (except Friday) she would be up wrapping our sandwiches in wax paper and sending us off to school with lunch.
My mom encouraged my love of reading. My dad had served in the military so he went back to college on the GI bill after he and my mom were married, and I was a baby. Because of that, my parents were on a strict budget but somehow my mom found the money in her grocery allowance to buy me a Golden Book. I still have that collection of Golden Books. She also regularly took me to the library where I was allowed to take out ten books (it was always ten which seemed like a lot, but I now know it was her way of keeping track of how many books we had out). We always read stories together even if I insisted on having the same one read over and over again. She even let me name our first dog, Widget, after a picture book I loved.
My mom gave me my pretty blue eyes.
My mom gave me independence and taught me to stand up for myself. I was always pretty shy and sensitive. When I was very young some of the other kids would take my sand toys in the sandbox and she would make me go over and get them back myself. She also made me do this as I got older, whether it was speaking up for myself to a teacher, or one of my peers. She also made me go to preschool even though I would’ve rather just stayed home with her. There were many times that she pushed me to do something that I was not comfortable doing and even though it often resulted in tears (probably from her too), she knew that I needed to be pushed to be independent, to be successful, and to live the best life possible. Heck, sometimes she still gives me a kick in the butt when I need it.
My mom gives me the gift of her organizational skills. I struggle with being organized and even though I like to be organized, it is not something that comes naturally to me. So she comes and helps me clean out my closets. My mom keeps me on task, makes me get rid of things and makes the job more fun. Even my husband knows that when it needs to be done, he tells me that I should call my mom.
Similarly, my mom has helped me move so many times. When you go to college and then go to law school and then have several apartments and then have a condo and then have a house, do you know how many times you move? We won’t count because it is easily in the double digits. Each and every time, she helped me pack and unpack. Also, she is really good at lining kitchen cabinets with shelf paper, if you need someone.
My mom is my best shopping partner. We spend some of our best time together going to our favorite stores and having lunch. Sometimes we just go to Target together just to buy our necessities although even those trips usually end up with a few extras in our carts. She will even go shopping with me for a new pair of jeans. I also know that her opinion will be honest and kind and vice versa.
As a child she was always the one to soothe the skinned knees and wipe away the tears. And as I grew and even now, she tries and soothes my hurt feelings, and life’s disappointments and frustrations. While she cannot take them away entirely, her support and sympathy are sometimes enough to assuage that hurt feeling, if just for a bit.
My mom showed me that life does not end when the worst thing imaginable happens. When my dad died suddenly, we were all devastated, and she understandably more so than the rest of us. However, she did not give up even though I am sure there were days she really wanted to. She helped me plan my wedding which happened only six months later. She hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon a summer later which had always been a dream of hers. After five years she opened herself up to the possibility of having another relationship, and not living the rest of her life alone. Basically, my mom was able to transform the life that she thought she was going to have, into the life that she now has, and is happy again after something so devastating happened to her.
My mom has helped me become the person that I am today. She (along with my dad) gave me my strong values about family and treating others with kindness and respect. She taught me that to stand by and watch something wrong is as wrong as doing it yourself. I know many women worry that as they get older they are going to turn into their mother, but there are many things about my mom that I would be happy to be just like her. Happy Mother’s Day (for the whole month of May)! –June