I have always felt that I am a pretty stable, well rounded person, as I make my way through this life. I attribute this to having a happy, healthy childhood. I am one of the small percentage of people in this country who are part of a family where the parents are still happily married, and at some times we seem so normal, I almost wonder if we are too normal.
Growing up, we were a typical family of four, in a city in the midwest, in an average middle class neighborhood. My sister and I went to catholic school, participated in sports, attended church every Sunday, and led normal lives. Our parents loved us, and supported us in whatever we chose to do. I would never say they were the "soccer mom" variety, they were never "go, go, go!" but they allowed us to find our own direction in life. I have always believed that I am a stronger, more confident person because of the way I was raised.
Today I want to talk about my mom.
My mom worked, but she always made sure we had dinner as a family at the kitchen table, and it was nearly always home made. During the summers, I can remember her setting aside special days just for the three of us girls, and she would spend the whole day just doing something with my sister and I. Mom could always be counted on to provide costumes, baked goods, and prom dresses, sometimes at a moment's notice. We were not a "touchy-feely-huggy" family, but we never doubted that we were loved and appreciated. My mom had her own way of letting us know how much we mattered, even when we tested her patience.
After leaving home, that never changed, but I imagine I never held up my end of that bargain. I was a self-centered college student, then an independent woman who married young, and never really considered that maybe my mom missed me. I had my own life. And still, mom was always there for me. She came to Iowa in the sweltering August heat to help me finish my wedding dress. She may not know it, but hearing her voice on the phone when I called home in tears to tell her that my husband had cancer was the only thing I needed to hear that day. And when I divorced, even though I'm sure they didn't approve or understand, my parents still supported me.
Years later, I remarried and had a child of my own, and finally I realized how much I needed my mom.
Unconsciously, I started calling home regularly. I updated my parents with all kinds of facts about my pregnancy and pictures from all five of my sonograms. And when I went into labor, Mom and Dad hopped in the van and drove straight through from Ohio so they could be here to meet their newborn grandchild.
They stayed with me for two weeks, helping me adjust to being a new mother, and working on our house so that it was fit to bring the baby home to. Mom never once lectured me or pushed advice on me about the baby. If I asked for it, she gave it. If I just needed a nap, she sent me to bed. If the laundry needed to be done, she washed it. And if I needed to lash out and prove that I could do it all by myself, she stayed out of my way and didn't judge me. The day they left, I held my baby boy and cried my eyes out.
And then they came back. Over and over again they came back. They have been here for as many special occasions as they could manage, and have been more of a support system than I could ever have hoped for.
Many miles separate us now, but still they come. I don't say it nearly often enough, but I have come to appreciate my parents more than I could possibly express. And as a mother, I think I finally understand my own mother more than I could ever have expected. More and more every year, I see myself becoming like her, and I remember how in my youth I was like any other typical teenage girl who said, "I'll never be like my mom!" all aghast at the suggestion that I might turn out like her. Now, as a 37 year old wife and mother, I can only hope that I am learning to be more like her as I grow up.
I love you, Mom. Thank you for always being there for me. Happy Mother's Day.