It is May 13th and one my favorite holidays…although the holiday where I’ve always had the hardest time being away from home: Mother’s Day!
First, a shout out to all of the amazing mothers, mães, and mamas in my life! I’m beyond thankful for everyone that has taken care of me over the years!
Second, to my friends that are mothers or expecting, you all are amazing and I admire everything you do! How you navigate early adulthood and also love on your children, I will never know! You make it look so easy! You are amazing!
Last but not least, the one and only: MOTHER THERESA. I can’t give you the one thing you asked for this Mother’s Day…having all of your kiddos around (or was that just my presence…?). So, here are 13 reasons why I’m the most thankful that I got a chance to be your daughter.
Anyone that can try to take nice Christmas pictures of their children who actively try to sabotage every attempt, year after year, without spontaneously combusting already deserves the title of BEST MOTHER EVER.
We weren’t an easy bunch, and we often don’t make it easy now. Although we may not be hitting each other with bats, throwing rocks at windows for fun, or lighting matches behind the house, we’ve brought new difficulties to your life. We’ve moved away, we’ve made poor choices, we’ve created the need for you to make difficult decisions. Thank you for being patient with us as we make mistakes…and a lot of messes.
2. Open Communication.
When you offer open communication without repercussions, it changes lives.
A scene from high school keeps playing in my head on repeat. I had gone off with some friends on a “blind group date” with some guys from a couple towns over. They could drive, I wasn’t old enough yet. Turns out they had been drinking, so while we went to ditch the movie we had said we were going to, I made the decision to not get in their car.
I walked across the street to McDonald’s, called you, Mom. You came and got me. You took my friends home, you took me home…and you never brought it up again…unless I did. Thank you for always being open to listen and for never making me feel judged…that event would have looked a lot different if you weren’t you.
3. Trust and Follow Through.
Not only did you give us your trust, but you are also someone in whom we could place our trust.
I very well could have been doing something terrible, but you gave me the benefit of the doubt….and we all know that I’m a terrible liar…and even worse at keeping things to myself. When all of the medical research came back with no abnormalities, you never questioned if I was telling the truth to get attention…you came up with new solutions. Thank you.
Thank you for giving us freedom that came with your trust in us. Thank you for being trustworthy and always following through with what you say…even if it meant we actually went to bed without supper.
4. Sense of Humor.
Life is full of enough stress to not have a good laugh from time to time (or all the time).
I’m not sure if your sense of humor got better as an adult…or if my sense of humor just changed. Either way when I left you home with the two younger sisters, you all of a sudden got real witty and sassy. I LOVE IT. Thank you for sharing those pieces of yourself with us.
5. Positive Physical Touch.
Hugs. Foot rubs. Back scratches. Checking my head for “lice” aka brushing my hair. You’re always there when I need it.
Even when we used to fight in the van and you’d reach over to hold my hand as a peace offering…and I didn’t want to…but there was no escaping the fact that you loved me.
6. Moments of Imperfection.
Seeing you as a complete human has been such an important part of my formation as a person.
Remember that time we forgot to pick up chocolate syrup and the old car died as you tried to make a sharp turn into the gas station? You swore. Then apologized about it later. Remember that time we were driving home and there was a touch down of a tornado by the intersection where we lived? You were terrified, we were terrified. You held it together for us.
I know it is okay to express myself and be a human…and to acknowledge when I was out of line, over-dramatic, or wrong. Thank you for showing me how to handle emotions with grace.
As a parent, you don’t have the luxury to “treat yo’self” and go on trips. Not if the kids outgrew their shoes and the bills need to be paid.
Thank you for always putting us first, even when we didn’t realize it…or when we weren’t very appreciative. I will never know all of the extra trips you had to make because we forgot our homework or got sick at school. I will never know how many extra hours you spent doing stuff for us because it needed to be done.
Most importantly, thank you for never complaining about it. In fact, you never even mentioned it. You didn’t do it for the recognition, the social media ‘likes’, or any sort of glory. You were just loving on us in a language that I speak well, “acts of service”.
There’s a reason why you knew I would be a wanderer before I ever step foot out of the house. You’re always watching and gathering information so that you can make the best possible move…
…kind of like how you play cards. Thanks for being one heck of a euchre partner. You can be on my team anytime!
9. Creating an Atmosphere of Excitement.
Half of the struggle of engaging small humans is making them believe that what they are about to do is exciting. It’s all about the buy in. You did…and do that so well.
Genuine or not, you were always great at getting us excited about things…and then faking surprise as we opened presents. You gave us the freedom to show you things in our own way and let us have the genuine emotions that went with it. I think that has helped me in my own profession with little humans.
10. Welcoming Presence.
Your house has always been full of guests, both long-term and short-term. You welcome the misfits, the known, and the unknown.
I think you’ve ruined me for life. There will never be a place that I feel so comfortable again. I will always want to just sit at home and have people over. You’ve created a monster in a homebody of me.
Here’s the secret though…it isn’t fancy furniture or a super clean environment that has us all coming back with our friends and new families. It is that your house is a home because you’ve made it a place of love and openness. You didn’t have to open your doors to the world, but you did.
11. Demonstrations That You Care.
Care packages, frantically searching for medical records so that I can get on a flight home, and picking up an extra gallon of milk because you noticed I was running out. If actions speak louder than words…well you practically scream that you care about us every day.
You’re sometimes a little too hard on yourself for “not doing enough”. No amount of money or resources could replace the fact that I’ve never questioned your love for me. Remember the years of reading to us before bed? Remember the sporting events you made it to? Remember how you went to parent-teacher conferences? I do. Even if I didn’t recognize those acts as love at the time, I felt it.
12. Unwavering Support.
We don’t always make the best decisions, or the easiest decisions for you to support. You have always been great about letting us know that you’re in our corner and ready to collect us shall we fail.
You didn’t want me to move to Brazil as a teenager, but you never forbade it. There were no ultimatums. You didn’t even try to persuade me to see the downfalls of taking a gap year. You didn’t exactly go SEARCHING for ways to send me abroad, but you came to every meeting and helped me make it work.
Same goes for today. I’m pretty sure you still don’t love all of my choices, but I know you’d fight the world for me and if I fail, crashing and burning, your doors and arms are wide open for me to come back until I’m ready to take off again.
13. Open Mindedness.
Taking the time to hear both sides of the story and meet people from diverse backgrounds means that we get to have real conversations, deep conversations, and that I’m not afraid you’ll disown me because my views or lifestyle may be different.
Thank you for always hearing me out. Thank you for always being willing to talk it out with me. You’re a great listener (I suppose that could be the 14th reason.)
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
I feel so honored to be your daughter. I’m especially thankful that you never followed through on your threat to call social services and get rid of us when we were being THE WORST.