I’ve probably written about this before. In looking at my “stats,” I learned that I’ve written at least two hundred blogs. Wow, at roughly a thousand words each, that’s two hundred thousand words.
Damn, I’m good.
I chatted with my mom this morning. Currently, she’s in Germany. Dad’s in Florida. Now, before all of you start thinking that there’s trouble in paradise, everything’s fine. Really. I’m serious. Dad came home early so he could have a fun fishing trip with his brother. See. Everything’s great. In fact, Mom and Dad will be celebrating their 49th (?) wedding anniversary this month. I really don’t know how long they have been married. I know it’s longer than my life and longer than my older brother’s life. Beyond that, I’m clueless because I’m an idiot.
Mom’s not an idiot though. She’s friggin’ brilliant. And wonderful. And loving. And compassionate. She’s guileless to a fault. She’s generous to the point of self-sacrificing. She’s nurturing and loving (which I’ve already written but since I’m repeating myself, who cares….). Mom looks for how she can improve the lives of others around her. She’s volunteered in divorce care ministry. Currently, she works on the board in her condo complex in Florida; she does everything she can to improve the lives of the residents around her. Without sacrificing the environment. Or the quality of lives of others. Namely the people who work to maintain the grounds. Because Mom is blind to status and social hierarchy. She cares for people because she cares for people.
It’s as simple as that.
I have inherited so many of my best qualities from my mother. When I was five, she led me to salvation. And since then, she’s given me Bibles and lessons and Bible studies. She encourages me, daily, in my walk with Christ. She reminds me to love others before I think of myself. She prays for me, my family, my husband. Even the pets because she knows how much I love them and whatever or whomever I love, she loves with her whole heart.
Mom gives and gives and gives. When I gave birth to my daughter (my second child), Mom watched as Pat and I worked and struggled to make ends meet and to ensure the best quality child care for both of our children. Before the year was out, Mom (and Dad…whenever I talk about my mom’s generous actions, Dad is always supporting her. They do things in perfect tandem) sent me a check for over a thousand dollars to help Pat and me with getting our kids into the same child care center. I still worked two jobs for nearly ten years. But that money made all the difference in the first year which was very difficult for both of us.
Mom is neurotic and a bit insecure. I have inherited those flaws which is sad because Mom should never be neurotic or insecure. She is wonderful and I really don’t know how to explain that to her in words that she will accept and see as the truth. She hates it when I buy her gifts (which is ironic because I love giving her gifts, love receiving gifts, and feel guilty when my kids spend their money on me), but I can’t stop giving things to her. Because I want her to see and accept that she really is wonderful.
Yes, she digs her heels in and will stubbornly conform to the shapes of her fears and frustrations. But at the age of nearly-seventy, hasn’t she earned the right to be this way? She can be a bit bull-dogish in how she will set her teeth into a project and will pursue completing it with her entire heart. However, I have also seen how she was heralded for that same exact tenacity.
I wish I had inherited that quality from her. My self-discipline has always been lacking. It’s why I stay in a perpetual chub-zone. It’s why I have a tendency to allow things to distract me. Mom lowers her head and focuses all of her attention on whatever issue needs to be solved. I try to do that until something shiny zooms past me and then it’s all about the squirrel!
Mom does not have [undiagnosed] Adult ADD.
I wish my mom did not have her fears. I wish that she would let me pry the barbed hooks of her anxiety that keeps her pinned to whatever fear she is experiencing so she could relish life a little more. She won’t read my blog. She says that she does this out of love for me, because she wants to give me a place where I may freely express myself without fear of reprisal.
Which is, once more, how Mom gives of herself. She knows my passion for writing. She has stood guard over my words because she knows how protective I am over my writing. She might not like everything I write (geez Mom), but she knows my love for words, for stupid pens, for the feel of paper, for the smell of books and how much I can not control my compulsion to buy books because I am afraid of missing out on reading a good story.
My father is the person who started me on my path to becoming a writer. But Mom was the person who nourished and encouraged and fed the love of words. Mom encouraged me to talk through my stories. She calls me a dream chaser because it’s not enough for me to think of doing something, of dreaming about it. She loves the fact that I will put my head down and follow the will of the wisp no matter where it leads me.
She wishes I wasn’t so klutzy but will laugh with me over my mis-adventures. She’ll tell stories about my falls and accidents as though she were bragging about the fact that I have broken and smashed various relics given to her by her parents/family. She doesn’t hold grudges, even though she has certainly earned the right to hold them.
I said horrible things to her when I was young.
I held her down, twice (I wish it was never), by the collar of her shirt, my fist over my head as I held back my fury and didn’t hurt her.
My beloved, precious, mother. I actually was at the point of hurting her.
I didn’t. But I still regret that I drank in the rage enough that I was willing to hurt her.
Mom doesn’t hold on to that memory. If I bring it up, she brushes it aside as if I had invented some silly moment from my past.
And yet she still apologizes for times when she hurt me. Which hurts me more because I should be apologizing to her for my mistakes and my juvenile actions which could have yielded terrible hurt and destruction.
My mother has saved my life.
My mother inspired me to become a teacher.
She still calls me TOY for Teacher of the Year.
Even now, I just got off the phone with her and read her the blog and she isn’t convinced that the person I have written about is her. And she immediately says that I’m just exaggerating.
Mom, I can not even begin to capture how much I love you and respect you.
I wish I could strip away the angry patina Mom has used to slime the mirror of her perceptions. And no matter how many words I write, someone else will come up and nail ugliness across her self-esteem.
Fortunately, I’m really good with a hammer. I will use the clawed-end to rip out the nails that people think have secured their self-destructive, self-righteous cruelty to my mom.
And then I’ll reconstruct my mother. Because she deserves it. And because she’s fabulous.