|Dad and Mom on their 50th Anniversary
When I was young she was always there. She was soft, welcoming and huggable. She doesn’t like to admit it, but she loved to nap. She cooked from scratch and baked cool things and spoke to her own mother every day on the phone. She was the fifth out of seven siblings, and had a strong sense of family. She watered the lawn with a hose-sprayer after dinner, as if it gave her peace and comfort (What the hell was up with that? So not me! ) She was beautiful, peaceful and rarely raised her voice to me.
The list is on autoplay when I think of her. Hearing the word “mom” rewinds me back to her then and transports me to who she is now. Still, my list doesn’t really play into why I love her so much. There is something uncharted in the human heart that makes people beautiful and valuable to us. My mom is both, and I am so grateful that she is in my life.
I didn’t always feel this way. If you would have asked me at 16, I would have said my mom didn’t care much for me. If you would have asked her who her “challenging child” was, she would have answered that I was. Her glowing, graceful, feminine persona accepted the of hardships of life as well as its blessings. I was born outspoken, waiting for someone to ask for my opinion about anything, and giving it readily. Growing up, I was a classic underachiever, though, with a tendency toward being overly sensitive. Almost every report card I brought home had notes saying that I “wasn’t applying myself” or that I daydreamed or that I was careless about handing in my homework. I waited for her to lose faith in me, but somehow, she never did. She would chew me out between clenched teeth when I crossed her boundaries and I would stand with my hands on my hips and roll my eyes like it didn’t faze me.
Nevertheless, my mom, over the years, became a pillar of wisdom for me. She had little by little chiselled out a place of refuge in my life, becoming a trusted ally, even though we were so different. My first child was born when I was 23 and I instantly had a heart change for her, longing for her to be near. In every sense of the word, she was a natural mother, and when I compared myself to her, I came up wanting. When I would tell her this, she would almost scold me, reminding me that I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone.
Being polar opposites, now, has its advantages. I can count on her to have a viewpoint I respect... one that I need to hear because it’s usually the reverse of mine; and in the balance I find wisdom for the moment.
I know lots of people – good people – who are not drawn to their mothers like I am to mine. I can’t explain why, but my mother is the safest person I know. When I’m lonely for her, I cry. Sometimes I call her when I do, and instead of asking me to return to my homeland and to my family, she reminds me of my calling here and prays for God to strengthen me.
She loves me, and I know it.
March is her month, and she just celebrated another birthday without me there. Some days you just want your mom, no matter how old you are. Today is one of them.