This week, I posted the following tidbit on my FB page:
“I was following up with an editor today about a piece I’d written, and pitched a second idea for an article on mountain biking at night. He liked the idea, so I went out tonight to get photos and more experience. As I was leaving, Liam asked where I was going, and I said I was going to take pictures for an article I was writing. He asked ‘are you a news reporter?’ I replied ‘I am writing a story for a newspaper.’ He responded ‘are you everything?’ I have never felt more cool.”
I met up with another mom the next day who remarked about the comment saying something like “you are the coolest mom ever.”
I replied “I’m just trying to enjoy it as long as I can. Pretty soon he’ll be rolling his eyes and saying ‘Oh, that’s just my mom.’”
We all like to believe that will never happen to us. Our kids will always enjoy our company, always want to have us around. But let’s face it. Our days are numbered before we become “just my mom.”
My girlfriend and I reflected on all the special things our moms did for us when we were children- activities we took for granted or were downright annoyed with. She described her mom leading her and her siblings on a walk to collect prickly pears for jam. Her mother would spend the day preparing the cactus paddles, scraping the needles and peeling the skin. She would follow it up by cooking the cactus down to form the jelly. As a child, my girlfriend did not appreciate the work or look forward to the jam. She simply thought are you done yet?
I have my own collection of thoughtless moments when it comes to my mother. One Easter, she made every single piece of candy in my Easter basket- the lollipops, the chocolates, even the bunny. I remember gorging on the candy and enjoying every bite. I also remember interrupting her as she crafted the confections with sibling squabbles we could not settle on our own and tantrums over activities that could not wait.
I could go on and on with the intricacies that make my mother an amazing woman- her strength and calm in times of crisis, her fierce support of her children, her creative spirit that feeds my own. But most of these characteristics I couldn’t appreciate until I became a mother myself. It’s not just that she took the time to craft my Easter candy by hand- it’s that she took on that unbelievably special task in the midst of raising six children.
I have two little boys of my own now. Some days, it seems impossible just to make sure they are fed, clothed, and relatively clean- let alone anything beyond the absolutely necessary. But most of the time (after I’ve had some coffee) I gather the energy to do the extra- to make superhero capes with their names on them, bake their favorite cookies, or read the same book for the umpteenth time. I do it because I love them with my every ounce of emotion within me. I do it because I can do nothing else. Becoming a mother opened my eyes to a new level of emotion, not just for my boys, but also for my mother. I understand the way I feel about my sons is how she feels about me. At one point, the sun rose simply because I was alive and I was her baby girl. We’ve had our fights. We’ve disagreed. But I now appreciate the expanse of my mother’s love for me. She wasn’t making Easter candy. She was creating a memory, a bit of love that would exist beyond the last bite.
She’s beautiful. And amazing. And strong beyond compare. She’s my mom and I love her.
And she also happens to make the best fried chicken you’ve ever tasted.