She brought me into this world. It wasn’t what she expected, but with the help of my dear Grandma Hale, my Mom told my Dad the child they had briefly discussed having without having come to a definitive agreement was already on her way. I now understand her fears of being an older mother, but can assure you they were all proven to simply be the fear of the unknown.
My Mom gave me a beautiful childhood. She helped me with my homework each night, made sure I succeeded in school, never missed a school event or sports activity, sat on PTA boards and was a Brownie Mom for the Girl Scouts. My Mom cared for me with patience, she surrounded me with loving and compassionate people, she encouraged my relationships with other people in my family, even if they made her feel second best. My Mom sacrificed so much during my upbringing to make sure I had everything I needed, wanted, and so much more. My Mom brought me into this world and she made sure every day since was better than the last.
Unfortunately, I didn’t always appreciate her and all she did for me. As with most teenage regret, I spent my high school years hating every decision she made for me. Instead of appreciating the direction she was pointing me in for my life, I resented her for going against what I wanted in the moment. Instead of understanding that the no’s often meant she was protecting me, the maybe’s often meant she would look into it to assure her only daughter would be safe, I criticized her for anything other than yes dear. But I don’t regret my regrets. What I mean by that is that I’m thankful that I was wrong. I’m thankful that I learned what a wonderful Mom I really had. I’m blessed that, although it often made her life difficult she stood by her no’s and she followed through with her maybe’s.
Now I’m someone’s Mom. I appreciate all she taught me when it comes to being a mother to my son. I am grateful for all the important life lessons and values she instilled in me. I understand from the bottom of my heart all the love and concern that went into each no. I understand what a struggle it was to follow through but what an act of love it was to be consistent.
I see my Mom, now as a grandmother, and I appreciate her in a whole new way. She loves my stepchildren as her own. She supports them in ways one wouldn’t expect. She never misses an opportunity to be cheering for them in the sports stands or beaming with pride at a school event. She holds a place in her heart equal to the space she has allotted for my son, and we can’t ask anything more than that. She is a Nana who loves her grandson unconditionally. She is one who is there for every single glorious moment in his life and who runs to our side for every battle we have faced. As a grandmother, my Mom is even more patient and kind and loving than she was as my mother. She tells my son he is the greatest thing that happened to her and I believe that. Instead of saying “hey but I’m your daughter,” I appreciate her for putting forth so much of herself to make my son happy. I am beyond grateful that he has a relationship with his grandmother very similar to I did as a child. I’m even more grateful that I learned from my mother to encourage and appreciate the loving relationships that exist in Anthony’s life. I firmly believe that as he grows these relationships will make his life easier and happier and for that I’m proud to be just like my Mom.
But while she has supported me through every moment of my life, loved me unconditionally (even through my faults), and provided me with a happy, prosperous, and enriching life, it is the love she had for my father that has set her above the rest, in my eyes, as a Mother. She endured our endless bouts of busting her chops, she passed the phone without hesitation when she knew I always called to talk to him, she simply shook her head when she knew I went behind her back to get a yes out of him, she quietly sat in he background as I proudly proclaimed to be a daddy’s girl and that I loved my Dad the most. She calmly and collectively skated through all those years with a smile on her face and the ability to let everything roll off her shoulders.
Then suddenly, when my Dad got sick, I saw my Mom in a whole new light. And I think that her undying and incredibly deep and inspirational love she had for my father was the greatest act of love she has shown me as my Mother. She kept him here until he no longer could fight. Whether she did it for him, or for herself, or for me, doesn’t matter. But the fact that my son got two wonderful years with him is an amazing gift that will always be my favorite thing in life. She sacrificed her earlier years for me and her later years for my father. It is no small act of love to stand by your wedding vows, “through thick and through thin, in sickness and in health,” and to provide your child with a loving home occupied by both of their parents. Especially with all the stress of today’s life, it takes a lot of commitment, effort, and sometimes a fight from within to do that. But my Mom showed me day in and day out, through her actions, that she loved me because she loved my Dad first.
To top it all off, these past few months, she showed me that her loving qualities will continue to emerge as our relationship grows closer through the years. I had lost my best friend. I told her this. And in the wake of all the madness, she calmly, quietly, and easily slipped into my heart as the perfect replacement to the void I was feeling with the loss of my Dad. And she smiled contently when I referred to her as the “replacement best friend.” She put aside her own grief and heart break to make sure my heart was ok and that I could heal the way I would need to, just like the perfect Mom would naturally do.
Mom, thank you for literally giving me everything you could in life. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t recognize what you do and appreciate you for it. For loving me, my kids, my friends, my family, and mostly my Dad, I will always be indebted to you. I love you Mom. To the moon and back.