Mom is so great because she is the epitome of unselfishness. She's always been generous of her time and talents and most importantly, has never met a stranger. Few people leave mom's grace without feeling better about their entire outlook on the world. She just has that high level of positivity that has been imparted to both my sister and I, as well. Several years ago, she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Despite being reliant to her wheelchair (and she's still, very, very young, less than 60, in fact), she's very grateful to be mobile in her chair instead of "having to be confined to a bed." (Which she, consequently, experienced a couple of years ago for about 6 months.) Mom volunteers with a local girl scout troop and has traveled to Europe and Washington, DC with them. She cheered me on in the NYC marathon, as her wheels gave me wings to fly. She also participates in an arthritis walk to raise money. Even though she can't walk, she's determined to complete the race with the help of someone pushing her. I'm gladly volunteering for that honor (but I think Dad has stepped in).
Growing up, we were immersed with ideal TV moms. These were mothers who didn’t work, stayed home with the kids and in some cases, they even had a maid to help out. Mom was always there for us, but she did work. When I was really young, she worked the graveyard shift for Levi’s. She’d be awake for us at home, and when we were going down to sleep for the night, Mom was clocking in, getting off in time to make us breakfast, pack Daddy a lunch, then sleep for a few hours. On cold, winter mornings’, we’d wake to freshly made hot chocolate, and there was never a shortage of marshmallows. More often than not, she’d have some sort of fresh baked cookies, especially during the Autumn. When I was older, mom went back to working in the food service industry. She worked for Furr’s Cafeteria and our school cafeteria. When I was in Middle school, I was happy to be able to see her in the middle of the day. Many times, I was able to see my mom, and through the doors, I could peek in and see my brother too (our schools were connected by the cafeteria). I don’t know where mom found all of the energy for it. Because on top of work and home, she was an active PTA volunteer, was a Girl Scout Troop leader, taught Sunday School, coached our volleyball/softball/soccer teams, played in her own adult sports leagues, and managed to do it all looking beautiful and graceful throughout. Oh, and let’s not forget that not only would mom look gorgeous, but my sister and I were always presentable, hair done, dressed like little ladies. Having a daughter and trying to get ready myself and then having to get Mari ready and be finished on time, well, that’s a feat I was totally unaware of until recently. (Now you know why I keep going and going and going!)
But despite the many things that mom did, the biggest gifts she gave us were things you can’t buy and were really hard to give. Mom enriched our Faith and led by her own example. She has a very personal and enriched relationship with God and I’m glad she introduced us to it so early on. She really fostered our creativity. We may not have had an entire craft room filled with paints and what not, but she made do with what we had. Early on, I was happily constructing kites from leftover yarn, sticks from the yard, and old newspaper. We would “color” the sidewalks with the crabapples that fell from our crabapple tree. My Barbie didn’t have a fancy Barbie pool, but the silver bucket we used to wash the car doubled as her pool. And the stories, oh the stories I would write…and she never tired of reading or listening to them. She would always make extra effort to read in voices, theatrically infusing each character with a very different personality. Growing up as a middle child, I would often get tired of wearing my sister’s hand-me-downs. Many times I didn’t mind, but I would get jealous of my classmates that had new clothes practically every week. Mom would tell me that she loved me too much to just give and give and give. That I needed to know what it meant to earn something and to value what I had. Telling me No was going to pay volumes in the long run. At the time, I didn’t like it. Not one bit. As a mother, now I know what she means.
Thank you mom for fresh baked goods, constant patience, cultivating creativity, fostering hope, spreading joy, and especially for teaching us the importance of enjoying life. Happy Mother’s Day!
*I'm about 2 years old in the picture and my mom is 27.