Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mother's Day

In just a few days, we will all celebrate one of my favorite days of the year—Mother’s Day. For me, this has always been a special occasion, perhaps because my mother is, hands down, the most incredible person I’ve ever met, and I love nothing more than to have an excuse to recognize all that she has done for me and my family.

As I have been searching for the “perfect gift” or perfect way to say “I love you,” I seem to have come up short this year. Every year, I attempt to do something unique to let her know how important she is to me. Some years, this means I write something for her—ranging from super silly poetry when I was 5 to equally silly and sappy poetry just a couple of years ago—or I find a way to tell her she’s incredible, like making a playlist full of songs that reminded me of her last year.

This year, though, I have racked my brain for days, and cannot come up with anything. Then, it dawned on me. This year, I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve changed in many ways, and maybe, I’m still trying to figure out what it is I want to say this year. You see, in the past year, my parents have changed the way they look at me. Sure, in many ways, I am—and will always be—their little girl, their little spitfire middle child with a sassy, smart mouth. But, over the course of the past couple of years, I have blossomed into an adult—both in actuality and in their eyes. This has, in some ways, changed our relationship. Of course, it’s still one of love, support, guidance from them, and everything it has always been, but it’s also grown deeper, and maybe even more special (although I never thought that could be possible).

That means that, this year, I really thought about what Mother’s Day means to me as an adult. It’s no longer the holiday of painted hand prints made into flowers (okay, that was really like three years ago, so stop judging), handmade cards, or anything like that. She’s more than the one who makes my grilled cheese sandwiches and kisses away scraped knees—although those were no less important at the time. For me, it’s about something deeper this year. Maybe, that’s because it’s been a year of great change—a year of hard times, sticking together, and growing as a family. But, it’s also been an eye opening year that has showed me the depth of what it means to be a family. That’s why, this year, it’s important for me to look at why we celebrate this day.

In all my thinking, I’ve come up with the fact that we celebrate because mothers (at least the good ones) are truly selfless beings. My mom is the first to go without if needed, the last to be served, the first to step up and ask the hard questions, the first to offer an encouraging word, the first to offer a hug or a shoulder to cry on, the one who will always let me be silly and even join in, and truly the strongest person I’ve ever met. She was my first teacher, my rock in the hard times, my closest friend, my dearest supporter, and my truest ally. In times of trouble, she has always unwaveringly been the one I can turn to. In times of joy, she’s my first phone call. When I have a joke to share, I know she’ll laugh at it. When there is a victory or personal accomplishment to celebrate, she’ll cheer the loudest, smile the biggest. Similarly, when discipline was needed, she would offer it quickly. Yet, she would never hesitate to follow it up with grace and advice on how to do better next time.

She was, and remains, the best example I’ve ever been given of unconditional love, grace, humor, strength, stubborn determination, quiet resilience, and faith. I have seen her tested, and I have seen her stand her ground. I’ve watched her go through trials greater than I could have ever imagined, and I’ve seen in her a level of perseverance unmatched by any.

In light of this—and after 25 wonderful years as her daughter—this year, I am more proud than ever to have her as a mother, to have her in my corner. I’ve had some tell me that I remind them of her, and this is, by far, the greatest compliment they could give me. I am proud to be her daughter, to see some of her strength and humor reflected in my own eyes, to see the great impact she has made on me, my siblings, and all of the children who have experienced her influence.

That’s what this Mother’s Day means to me, and I have a feeling it will only grow with importance as the years pass by. While I'm still searching for the perfect gift, for now, this might have to suffice. I love you, Mom--always have, always will! 

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