When I was younger, my dad would often tell me that I was just like my mother. I’d scoff and disagree, vehemently opposing the idea that I was anything like her. This was, of course, the exact worst thing to say to a surly, irrational teen. I was sure my mother was out to ruin my life and make me miserable. Why would I want to be like her? Looking back, however, I realize how blessed I was and still am today.
My mother is one of only a handful of people I can count on to always be on my side. No matter what, she’s always there to help me deal with whatever comes my way. If someone has treated me unfairly, she’s ready to stand up for me, but she’s never been a mother who believes her kids are always right. If we did something wrong, she made sure we got the punishment we deserved. As a kid, I would have said I was being treated unfairly, but as an adult, I can see that’s untrue. Those lessons taught me to be honest, to have strength of character.
Education was important to her. We weren’t just expected to make good grades, but to excel at learning. She knew what both my brother and I were capable of and she expected no less. She read to us when we were small, then allowed us to read to her when we were older. She would sit with us for hours, helping complete homework assignments and class projects. She encouraged us to play sports and join clubs. I think she only missed a couple of my softball games in high school, always willing to travel wherever the team was headed. I could always count on her to be in the stands, cheering me on.
My mom is loving and thoughtful, going out of her way to make those around her feel special. My brother and I are definitely spoiled in some ways, but we were also taught to be grateful, kind, and caring. I remember my mom waiting in line at Foot Locker before the store opened to get my brother the latest pair of Air Jordans. She bought tickets to baseball games and concerts, endured things she had no interest in because it made us happy. Even as adults, we still make wish lists; Christmas is ridiculous and wonderful in our household.
With my grandmother’s health failing, I know that this Mother’s Day will be bittersweet. As we all struggle to cope, it’s hard to find a reason to smile and celebrate, but I am so thankful for my mother. I am grateful for the qualities she has helped to cultivate within me and the life lessons she has taught me.
Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.