Today, I am thousands of miles from my Mom, so here’s a little shout-out for her, especially since I’m not sure my card has made it yet or not….
You had me when you were 20. I can’t think of anything I had at age 20 except probably a weekly case of alcohol poisoning and bad judgement when it came to boys. And good hair. That was about it. How you handled me, no idea. How you’ve continued to do it for the past 31 years, blows.my.mind.
In the past three decades you’ve answered such questions OVER and OVER again as: Does the roast go ON TOP of the vegetables in the crock pot, or below? He’s lying, right? He’s just saying that so I’ll like him, right? How many miles do I really have when the gas light goes off? What am I supposed to use to get wine out of the couch? You’re sure I’m never going to grow again? I am NOT supposed to brush my curly hair with a wire brush? What is every person we’ve ever known’s address?
Along the way, you’ve also taught me, or attempted to, many valuable lessons.
You told me when I was around 2 that if I threw that bottle away, you’d get me some finger paints. What a great trade that was.
You told me when I was four-ish and had a thing for running around in nothing but a Dr. Pepper tee, that guests did not think it was nice when little girls put their hands where they didn’t belong.
This advice was somewhat contradictory to how you also told me when I was little that I could sleep with a nightgown and no skivs so my jage could breathe at night. I will have you know that I have learned that some people don’t mind if you run around with just a teeshirt on and your hands here, there and everywhere. And I don’t know about that jage breathing thing, but I’m still taking your word for it.
You told me when I was five that I would really like Katie one day and to be nice to her. We’d be friends. Well that was a goddamned lie for almost a decade. I think you were in your wishful thinking phase.
When I was around 6 or 7 you told me that I could cry all I want about having to come inside but the only thing I’d do is make myself sick. You also told me to stop making my sister drink my milk when you weren’t looking AND that when you said ONE MORE TIME IN THE POOL, you really meant it. I think I only got the spoon to the ass once during this phase in my life and I deserved it.
When I was 8 or 9 and only four and a half feet tall and seemingly never growing again, you told me that big things come in little packages, which turned out to be true. You also didn’t think it was odd when I’d spend days on end reading books and writing letters to the President so I could send him a dollar to help with the debt. You told me one day I’d be really smart and I’ll give you the fact that I’m at least literate.
When I was ten you told me I could run away all I want but I’d be back. You told me to ignore the people who called me four eyes and you played along when I arranged a fake wedding to the neighborhood LOVE OF MY LIFE and then you told me I’d marry someone someday when he broke up with me. And you told me I couldn’t have back my David Justice baseball card I gave him because that’s not how nice girls play. Well that’s fucking true but if I could do it all again, I’d have that card back.
You let us parade the dogs around the yard in fake dog shows and sell lemonade on the side of the road for ice cream truck money. You listened to me recite every poem and read you every story and book report I ever wrote. That’s a lot, considering I was of the bookish/boy fearing nature and I looked like a small, crazy toothed clown at the time.
When I was ten you also told me about the birds and the bees by bringing me into your room and showing me some weird pamphlet and saying, “When two people love each other SO much and they want to be as close as possible…” which turned out to mostly be false but good try.
You came to every dance practice and recital, knowing even then that I am the world’s least coordinated person and that I would never go on to be some sort of award-winning dancer.
When I was in middle school and had headgear and was nicknamed Carpenter’s Dream and wore ridiculous clothes and had glasses and braces, you only let me cry a little before you told me that I would be going to school the next day and I would be ignoring them because I would be better than all this one day.
When I was in high school, you were as patient as I was difficult. I probably took ten years off your life by breaking curfew, walking into walls drunk, smoking in the woods and getting my heart broken by boys you had warned me about. But you let me make my own mistakes, and I appreciate that. I probably could have used a swift backhand, but I always did appreciate your stance on not abusing children.
In college you were my friend and you watched from a far as I grew up and left the house. You offered advice and a place to stay and do my laundry, but you understood when I decided not to come back, more and more, slowly over time. You smiled and helped me pack the week I left to move to DC. You told me I’d do great and that you were proud of me. And you always answered every time I called in the middle of the night, whether I was crying or drunk with excitement about something ridiculous.
You have always let me be 100% honest with you, which is why you’re allowed to read my blog.
When things were bleak, you told me that things will be ok, even when I didn’t believe you. And you were right.
You told me never to settle and that self-confidence is the only thing you need. Right on both accounts.
You’ve bailed me out of numerous less than desirable occasions. You’ve let me act vile and hateful and awful and still loved me. You’ve shared in my joys and my sorrows. You’ve given me the best friends I have in this world. You are the very best mom a girl could have, and I don’t tell you nearly enough. That, and you still cry every time you drop me off at an airport, which I find funny, even if it makes me cry back.
You told me I could be anything in the world and you’d support me.
You told me that you just want me to be happy.
You love me at my best and most importantly, at my worst.
These are the things I value the most, Mom.
And so, on your day of celebration, I hope my siblings are catering to you properly and letting you have a day of relaxation, fun, food and pampering. And when you have a chance, send me a picture of the gifts you get so I can make sure I got my money’s worth. 🙂
Love you lots and miss you more.
Now. To all the other influential ladies out there with little versions of yourself, I hope your kids made you breakfast and bed, picked you some flowers and made you a card.
If not, let me know and I’ll find you the nearest orphanage.