My friend, Leanne, wrote a moving tribute to her mother in honor of Mother’s Day. Sadly, her mother is no longer living and I’ll bet Leanne wishes she could have shared her “Gifts for my Mom” post before she died. Her post inspired me to write one of my own and since I’m fortunate enough to still have my mom I got to print a copy of this and include it in her Mother’s Day gift.
On this Mother’s Day I thought I would share a list of some of the things I appreciate about you. As a mother myself I’ll bet you wonder sometimes which things your kids remember and whether or not your efforts were appreciated. I doubt any kid truly understands the sacrifices of a parent. It isn’t until we have our own children that we begin to get an inkling of what is involved. Often it is the seemingly little things that mean a lot in retrospect. So here are some of the things I am thankful for:
1. You drove us to a private school which was at least a 20 minute drive each way every day for years. And you did so without killing either of my brothers who fought every morning over who got to sit in the front seat.
2. You taught me how to thoroughly clean a bathroom and how to make your delicious potato salad. Both of these skills come in handy on a regular basis.
3. You taught me how to drive our old ’62 Chevy and as a 13 year old would occasionally let Sue and me drive those few blocks to the bakery where we would buy cokes and packages of candy cigarettes. I’m not sure if you knew about the cigarettes but we loved pretending we were grown-ups out driving by ourselves and “smoking”.
4. You made my brothers attend my school choir concerts while reminding them of how many of their football and baseball games (and practices) I attended for them.
5. You and Aunt Kay did one of the bravest/craziest things imaginable and took four kids in an over-packed station wagon from California to visit relatives in Oklahoma, Missouri and Tennessee. The two of you taught us to sing old Girl Scout songs and Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “16 Tons”, in between letting us stop at a ridiculous number of Stuckey’s and various roadside shops selling souvenirs. It was one of my favorite trips as a kid.
6. You occasionally made an additional trip to our school to bring us hamburgers and fries from Naugles for our lunch. We were always the envy of our friends on those days. I also appreciate the fact that you didn’t make me eat yucky peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but made tuna several days a week. I’m going to continue to tell myself that there wasn’t as much mercury in it back then.
7. You spent hours driving around with me looking for my lost dog, Buttons. The fact that I spotted him sitting under a Joshua tree in a very unlikely location after praying that I’d find him was a turning point in my personal faith.
8. You always stood up for us in the face of unfairness at school. When I finally broke down crying and told you about a certain incident, you didn’t hesitate to give that teacher a piece of your mind. You also told the school principal that you had no intentions of sewing stupid-looking lace on the bottom of my “too short” dresses, nor would you buy me a new wardrobe for the last couple of weeks of school. You were prepared to let me skip those last days if necessary. I finished out the school year without any further humiliating trips to the office to have the length of my dresses measured. Although I must admit I had hoped I could have just stayed home those last couple of weeks.
9. You let us roller skate in the house. In fact, I’m pretty sure it was your idea since you did it, too. You also sometimes tap danced on the front porch.
10. You would sometimes indulge my request to play “Flight of the Bumblebees” on the piano at bedtime.
11. You would take me on spur-of-the-moment shopping trips to the mall in San Bernardino. You bought me the same relatively expensive bras and underwear that you wore when most of my friends were still wearing plain cotton stuff from discount stores. And when, at about age 15, I decided that it was time to move on from “Love’s Baby Soft” and “Charlie” colognes, you started letting me get “Shalimar” on our shopping trips. I’m still wearing it 35 years later.
12. You fixed lunch for David and me most days when we were in high school. By the time we drove home we had very little time to actually eat but you always had it ready and waiting for us.
13. You took care of my kids when I was in nursing school. Being away from them was one of the hardest things for me to do but knowing they were with someone who loved them made it bearable.
14. You were always there when the kids were sick enough to see a doctor, usually with a Beanie Baby for them.
15. I know without a doubt that if I ever need you all I have to do is call – day or night – and you’ll be there. Not everyone has that and I truly hope I’ve been able to pass along that same sense of security to my own children.
Thank you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day! I love you.