Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

To all the moms out there, but especially mine – I wish you a wonderful day full of love and laughter.

A number of times in previous posts, I've mentioned how great my mother is, and how grateful I am to have her.  The reality is she deserves much more … but the least I can do is write today’s post just for her.

For the most part, my mom raised me on her own.  My parents split when I was three, and though my father was technically still around, that wasn't always a good thing.  She remarried a few years later, but my stepfather was hardly a parent either.  Still, with just one real parent, I know I was luckier than most people with two (or more).

My mom is the reason I am who I am today.  Just by being herself and leading by example, she taught me to be giving, caring, and compassionate, and to always think about others.  Just as she learned from her mother (my Gram), she taught me to dedicate my life to helping people, to giving back.  When anyone asks why she does so much volunteer work, she has a very simple answer: “because I can.”   

... even when I didn't want to hear!
When I was growing up, she was more than a parent – she became my best friend.  She was (and still is) the person I run to when something exciting happens, and the person I cry to when something is wrong.  My mom was always real and honest with me.  She shared things that many parents would conceal, but that encouraged me to be just as open and true with her.  

My mother always believed in me.  She thought I could do anything, be anything, and was always sure that I would excel at whatever I chose to do or be.  At the same time, she taught me to be humble.  She wanted me to believe that I was a beautiful genius who could inspire the world, but she somehow still raised me to remain grounded.  Though she wanted me to have everything, she made sure I knew that I was not entitled to any of it: I had to work for whatever I wanted in life … but then I could appreciate it that much more.  

Like most mothers, she never thought that any boy I dated was good enough.  She wanted someone who would treat me like a queen, who would live only to make me happy.  Even hubby wasn't acceptable at first – it took many years (and a truly terrible boyfriend in between) for her to realize how great he was.  Once she did, though, she embraced him as more than just her daughter’s boyfriend (or husband) – she grew to love him as her own son.  On our wedding day, she was as happy as I was, because she knew he would always take care of me.  The added bonus is that hubby and I have the joy of forever teasing her about it, and the memory of her admitting that she was wrong and I was right.

Through good times and bad, my mom has always supported me.  When I ran for junior high school president, she helped me with my campaign speeches.  When it was time for my high school prom, she made my dress.  When I took on the huge responsibility of chairing an overnight charity event, she became my co-chair without a second thought.  

When I got sick, it became a lot harder.  There isn't a tangible thing she can do to take my pain away, and I know that makes her feel helpless.  What she doesn't realize, though, is how much the “little things” really mean to me.  Whether it’s taking me to a doctor’s appointment, bringing me matzo ball soup, or joining me for an arthritis walk, she continually shows me that she has my back.  Coming over to do nothing or understanding when I’m not even up for that – those are the things that mean more than I can explain.
Notice the ink:
My iris for her, and her buttahfly for me!
People often joke about how awful it would be to grow up and turn into their parents, and we’re no different.  Mom and I have laughed, cried, screamed, and cursed ourselves – and each other – when we’ve heard a conversation between my gram and mom come out of my mom and me.  When I really think about it, though, growing up to become someone as loving, caring, and giving as my mom?  That’s really not such a bad thing.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom … I love you.

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