Mother’s Day. It seems I should do a post for Mother’s Day, but I’m somewhat stuck on where to begin.
I haven’t actually been home to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mother for several years, and I won’t be there this year, either. I suppose this post is an attempt to make up for the years of busy grad school spring semesters when I was too overrun by papers, procrastination, and grading to remember to send a card or go home to visit. And now, the obstacle is my ongoing and as yet fruitless job search.
It will come as little surprise to read in this blog a statement that you will see written in countless other blogs on Mother’s Day: My mother is the toughest, strongest, and cleverest woman I know.
My mother came to believe after several years that she would be childless, having tried to have a child with no success. She was prepared to live a full and fulfilled life without children, or in fact, pets. Pets are not her thing.
My dad is the animal enthusiast; mom prefers the relative ease of caring for plant life. She had an indoor jungle, complete with African violets. Even now, the back porch of my parents’ house is host to my mother’s botanical garden of wonder.
So, like I said, she was ready to move on with her life without kids, and so it went for several years. My parents traveled, visited family in Colorado, took a 2nd honeymoon in Hawaii, and lived their lives, saved some money, bought a new car, moved to Round Rock.
Until surprise! There I was, late in life, like when the Last Unicorn came to Molly Grue. And yes, I realize that is a really obscure analogy, but if you don’t get it, you should go out right now– yes, I mean now– and rent “The Last Unicorn.” A 1970’s masterpiece. You won’t regret it, I promise.
When she got pregnant, my mom had a fantastic job with stock options and stuff, but she decided to be a stay-at-home mom.
My mother stayed at home because she wanted to; because she thought it was best for her and for me, and because she didn’t want to take on the kind of multi-tasking required to balance child-rearing with employment. To some, it’s worthwhile, but for my mom, it wasn’t. In the late 80s and early to mid-90s, she hated admitting to other moms that she was “just” a housewife. At that time, women were expected to work AND raise kids and be amazing at both.
My mother was amazing at lots of things. If they had the internet in those days, she would have had a mommy blog with craft projects, teaching games, and recipes. She made clothes for me and my stuffed animals and dolls. She saved the scraps from those projects for years, and made me a quilt from my favorite scraps for me to take to college with me.
She taught me to cook scrambled eggs and pancakes when I was 5 or 6, and she allowed me to experiment with a variety of new and sometimes rather too exciting recipes when I was a teenager. She was the cookie-baking mom for all my elementary school classrooms; always a favorite of my teachers and the school principal– and the bus driver.
She read to me before I could understand speech, and taught me to read early enough for her to regret having done so when I excitedly read aloud the headlines of World News Weekly and The National Enquirer in the grocery store checkout line.
She taught me to shave my legs and how to keep them together while I’m wearing a skirt.
She’s a veritable encyclopedia of knowledge that I seem to only be able to find through either a quick Google search or a phone call to Mom.
“Mom! How do I sew a button back on my shirt?”
“Mom! How long should I cook pinto beans?”
“Mom, what’s the difference between dark and light colored nonstick baking pans?”
“Mom, I can’t get the mildew stains off the grout in my shower– what should I use?”
“Mom, all my mint died. Do you think it didn’t like the full sun on the back porch?”
Reading over this post now, it seems so lacking and understated, and completely incapable of fully expressing exactly how important my mother is. And then I remember that my mom didn’t get to grow up with the same kind of guiding hand, since her mom died when she was very young. And I think, maybe she’s tried to be the kind of mom for me that she never had, but would have wanted.
And I know there aren’t the right words in all the world that I can put together in such a way to tell her how glad I am that she is who she is.