Archive | May, 2014

For My Mother, On Mother’s Day

11 May

It’s difficult to put my mother’s role in my life into words. I could be cliché and say that I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. I could say that she always taught me to chase my dreams. I could say that she’s my hero, my role model, my inspiration. All of these things would be true, but they’re words that somehow sound hollow. They don’t really capture the ways she has changed me. My mother is in every crevice of my soul. She is buried deep within my spirit and her influence seeps into my every breath.

To say that my mother sacrificed for me doesn’t even begin to cut it. She worked her ass off when I was a child so that I would want for nothing. My parents struggled financially, but that’s something I never perceived growing up. I had every toy I ever wanted, ordered from every single book order, went on every field trip, had teeny tiny t-shirts from Abercrombie & Fitch, and had tickets to every Backstreet Boys show. She wanted me to have the life that she never had, a better life than she had. It’s a sentiment that many mothers out there have felt, but that mine turned into reality. Was I spoiled? Damn skippy. Did I appreciate it? You betcha. But what my mother has done for me, and what I appreciate even more, is far greater than a room full of superficial possessions.

The thoughts and fears of children are often overlooked by adults. It’s easy to say, “You’re just a kid, you’ll be fine,” or “It’s just a phase, you’ll get over it.” My mother has never done that to me. She has taken every concern I’ve ever expressed seriously. When I was in second grade and I told her I wasn’t happy at the private school I was attending, she could have just brushed my anxieties aside. Instead she listened to me. She understood my unhappiness was serious, and she helped me through the difficult transition of switching schools mid-year. When I was in middle school, and I told her that a boy had made fun of the faint mustache that puberty (that bitch) had placed above my lip, she first told me that I was beautiful, second told me that he was a jerk, and then third helped me get rid of the ‘stache (thank God). There has never been a time in my life where I’ve come to her with a problem and she hasn’t helped me.

But still, what my mother has done for me goes even beyond that. I think the absolute greatest gift my mother has given me is confidence. She taught me from a very young age that I was deserving. Deserving of great things. Deserving of anything that I was willing to work hard for. Deserving of everything. She taught me that not only was it ok to be who I was, but it was absolutely essential. It was her guidance that helped me believe that I was exactly who I was because that’s who I was meant to be. She taught me to embrace every single part of myself, the good, the bad and the ugly. She showed me that I was a person worth knowing, a person worth liking, and a person worth loving, and that I should never settle for even an iota less. She gave me so much ego boosting that I probably had confidence in situations when perhaps I shouldn’t have. (I mean seriously, have you seen my sixth grade picture? It’s not pretty, but thanks to her I sure thought it was.)

Her believing in me was infectious. She made me believe in myself. It was this confidence that helped me go for quality in friends rather than quantity. It helped me wait for the right guy rather than any guy. It kept me in the honor roll, above the influence, and out of trouble. None of this would have been possible without my mother. As a teacher, I have seen firsthand what can happen to a lost and overwhelmed middle school girl without the support of her mother. I know what it looks like to take the other path, and I thank God every day for blessing me with a mother who pushed me down the right one.

It’s not my intention to paint a picture tainted with idealism. Sure, my mother and I had our fair share of fights, and we still do. What mother and daughter doesn’t? Those fights are just minor blemishes in a much larger, beautiful portrait. Some may say that it is an insult to be told, “You’re turning into your mother.” But, if I’m turning into the kind of parent that my mother was for me, then that’s exactly what I want to be.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you.

Me and Mom