Growing up, there are many things that made me know my mom was special. I remember telling her she was the most beautiful person I knew (I still maintain that to be a truth); I also remember her being at every single sporting event and 4-H show to support my sister and me; and I remember her showing me that you could have a career that you loved if you worked hard enough for it. Even though I was a bit blind to these attributes as an adolescent, I still remember appreciating these things, but what bugs me is that I never did verbalize all that I was thankful for at the time. We all know that our teen years can be filled full of selfishness and inward thinking, but in the teenage tornado that I was, I definitely knew my mom was in my corner. Now that I am a mother, the realizations for how awesome mine was keep coming at me. It’s time I wrote down some of the things I appreciate about my mom, now that I also hold this title.
Going Back to School
My mom had a job that made her travel when we were younger. I remember when she was out of town, dad got to do our hair, and take us to the local restaurant for burgers and fries. No matter how much I loved burgers, fries, and my dad, there was still a void when mom wasn’t around. When she decided she couldn’t be away from us that much, she took a dive into higher education that she wouldn’t see the end of for many years. While she was in college, we’d watch her–armed with highlighters and pens– studying for exams, reading articles and textbooks while making sure all of our needs were met. We didn’t know what a sacrifice that was at the time. We just knew that mom was doing this now. Having personally gone back to school for a Master’s degree during my time as a mother, I have a whole new respect for the kind of discipline it took for my mother to get three degrees while my sister and I were little. I watched her walk across the stage many times (once as Valedictorian), and until I became an adult, I don’t think I realized what she was teaching us at that time. The sacrifices she made for our family and for her education were many, but she masked it so that I was blissfully unaware that anything had changed in my tiny little life. Well done, mom.
Keeping us Involved
Although she kept a very packed college schedule, my sister and I played every sport we wanted, took dance lessons some of the time, and got involved in 4-H during the summers. When we weren’t in sports, we were attending camps for those sports. Although my mom’s schedule had to be demanding, we were allowed to try anything we wanted within reason. Now that I run my three around to their own events and play-dates, I have so much more admiration for what my parents did for me; I had no idea any sacrifices were being made. Now that I’m older, I know that making time for your kids to be active takes time management skills, self discipline, and a whole lot of selflessness on parents’ part.
Everyone learned early on that I had a gift for gab. I would talk and talk to anyone or really anything. My friends may tell you that this is still true. My sister was only one year younger than I was, but I still needed more listeners, so I created two imaginary friends to roll ideas off of occasionally. I talked to adults, other kids, my stuffed animals, my sister, and my parents. When none of them were around, I resorted to fake telephones and microphones. I remember everyone giving me a hard time for this, but I knew they counted on me when times were quiet. I told myself this was a gift, and everyone was welcome for it. Now, I have a daughter who never. stops. talking. She talks so much that her brothers beg her to stop. I like to think that her voice is way louder than mine, but I am totally getting it now, mom. My mom never made me feel like I was talking too much. She always validated what I had to say, and made me feel important even as a little thing. I still have my gift for gab, and she’s one of the first people I call when I have stuff on my mind, both then and now I can’t thank her enough for listening.
Hints of Feminism Before We Were All Talking About It
My mom loves my dad, and we saw that love daily. I think the beauty of my parents is the give and take, and the willingness to be open to what new adventure each person wanted to try. But my mom also threw in subtle hints of feminism here and there, that have only revealed themselves to my sister and me recently. I remember watching The Princess Bride with my family, and being so caught up in the love story of Buttercup and Wesley. He was so handsome and heroic, and she had a rockin’ dress and great hair. I loved it all. I remember the part in the movie where they were walking through the forest, and Wesley kept picking her up and saving her from beasts and fires. He seemed to know where they were, and Buttercup–being a helpless woman–was saved by him multiple times a minute. I was so wrapped up in it, that I said dreamily, “Someday, I want a boy to do that for me.” All of the sudden, my mom stopped what she was doing, and very poignantly said, “You can absolutely save yourself, Tessa.” Instances like this make me love her so much. Empowerment was in certain things she’d say to us, it was what she showed us each day in her actions, and it was even in the music she’d listen to. Go Janis Joplin! With my daughter, I try to take my mom’s lead and repeat to her that we are women; we are strong! She has so much girl power that it’s coming out of her ears, but I know it’s important for my boys to hear it, too. They are so amazing, and I want them to know they are capable of anything.
My mom rocks, for all of the reasons mentioned, and I’m very lucky I grew up where I did. Now that I’m in my thirties, I do thank her for providing me with love, food, guidance, support, and even telling me I could do anything I set my mind to. I mean, she even said those words when I would try to do math. Mom, this post is for you. Thank you for my life, thank you for showing me what hard work gets you, and thank you for always being in my corner.