My mother turned 61 this year, and while she’s probably going to kill me for releasing this information, I think it is something to be proud of. Ask anyone who knows her and they’ll tell you that she doesn’t look a day over 40. 😉
What my mother doesn’t realize is that she only gets better with age, and while she often tells me she wishes she were as wise as I am when she was 26, I still can’t believe that she doesn’t give herself enough credit. From an early age, her gift of guidance has transformed into my own moral compass; something I’d be lost without.
My mother made my childhood the best it could possibly be, despite the negative forces that may have tried to ruin it. No disrespect to my father, but he’s never been the father I needed him to be; but he means well. I guess after trying for so long, my mother sort of gave up; not only on him but on trying to believe things could get better – financially and emotionally. Somehow through all of that, she still managed to encourage me throughout my life, (which some “experts” say is why most millennials are “spoiled” but that’s a whole other story) pushing me to go further than she did. It took me some time to realize that I could have more – as I continue down my own path, making my own luck and building connections, I’m finding she was right. What she thought were setbacks were setups and I wouldn’t be who I am today without experiencing those hardships firsthand. I went from being a brutally negative person into someone who relies heavily on hope and possibility.
Though we never had enough to save for college, I’m realizing now that I wouldn’t have thrived in that setting and that everything happens for a reason. Though she beats herself up for things she should have done in the past, all that I am building now is a reminder of all that is possible without that one way street everyone seems to frequent. When she comes home stressed and in tears from another rough day at work, I now understand every sacrifice she ever made to keep me healthy, put food on the table and keep a constant roof over my head…along with those little surprises that keep me feeling loved and appreciated even to this day.
There’s a Taylor Swift song titled, “The Best Day,” off of her 2008 sophomore album, Fearless, that Swift dedicated to her mother. Every time I listen to that song I am reminded of all the times it was just me and her, forming a lifelong bond that as I get older, I am so blessed to have. The age of princesses and Disney store visits. The long (and comical) trips to the mall as a kid in a stroller, licking all of the salt off of a soft pretzel and handing it back to her soggy – which she still ate! The times when I was being bullied at school and she wanted to “put those girls in their place” but out of embarrassment I begged her not to. The teenage years when she thought I hated her and I thought she didn’t understand. The time I got my heart broken and she stayed up with me until it faded away. The nights when someone I loved almost ended his life and she called his parents to stop him because I literally couldn’t breathe. The way she looked at me after I told her all of the horrible things he said to me; the pride on her face when I broke free and finally ran towards God. Every moment adds up and builds onto the next one. Whenever she tells me she feels as if she’s failed as a mother, this is what I want to remind her of. Nothing was wasted.
She let me have my space and continues to do so while allowing me to figure out my own path. If you have a mother like that, you are blessed. I am blessed. I may not have a best friend that I could trust with my life, but I have my mom, and blood is thicker than water.
Most of my childhood peers often made me feel as if I should be ashamed for having such an exceptional mother because theirs weren’t exactly Mother of the Year. I’d get made fun of day in and day out for bringing a lunchbox to school. For so long I got tired of being called a “goody two-shoes” (gosh, kids can be so cruel and lame at the same time) that I felt I had to downplay how much she meant to me in order for them to lay off. When you grow up, you learn to reject all of that nonsense and own every blessing you possess. My only regret is that I wish I had done that sooner.
A mother’s job doesn’t stop when we turn 18. It is a lifelong blessing that I only hope to one day experience with my own children someday. I always say that I probably wouldn’t be a good mother, but now that I think of it, because of the love my mother continues to give me, that child will be brought into this world with love…and lots of drugs because I don’t want to even imagine that right now. 😀
So, mom, if you are reading this, you did more than okay. You were and are the best mother a daughter could ever ask for. You’re the greatest woman I know and you always will be. ❤
Happy Mother’s Day!