This is my favorite picture of my mom. To be fair, and honest, this is not the best picture of my mom; this is a pretty good one:
So is this one:
But I digress.
This is my favorite picture of my mom because this isn’t a picture of her appearance- it’s a picture of her heart.
I took this picture on a Monday at 2am. She’s holding my second son, Nolan – he’s two days old and in the two days since he was born, he’d only slept a total of four hours (in 23 minute blocks of time). The previous night, my husband and I had taken turns with him, but now my husband was home with our three year old and it was GiGi’s turn to wait out the long night with me.
My mom is many things : a nurse, a wife,a perfectionist, a daughter, a sister,a comedian, a friend, but mostly- she’s a mother. She’s my mother.
I went into labor on Saturday at four in the morning, she’d had three hours of sleep, but when I called to tell her that my water broke– she got up, got dressed and drove the forty minutes to the hospital. She got there before the epidural and she helped my husband coach me thru the God-awful ( I mean REALLY! If you are reading this and had a natural childbirth, I am forever humbled by your ability to handle the animalistic pain and chaos of labor. If we ever get into an argument, you can simply say “natural labor”; I will submissively slink away because you are the alpha and I willingly lose to your greatness.) contractions until the anesthesiologist finally showed up to put the needle in my back. When it took six tries to place the epidural, I knew I didn’t need to threaten the anesthesiologist’s life because my mom already was.
And that’s the beauty of my mother’s heart- she’ll flat out threaten a medical professional if they aren’t doing right by her kids (yeah, this has happened more than once, so there’s precedent) and she threatens in such a graceful, civil way that it takes three hours to realize she’s even spoken harshly, much less threatened to harm you and your family in a untraceable way (yeah, precedent again) .
But again, I digress.
My mom is one of the strongest people I know. She gives everything all that she is. And she gives the most to her family.
I am a better woman because of my mom. The people in my life are better off because of my relationship with my mom.
My marriage benefits from the conversations I have with my mother. My jokes are funnier because of her – mostly we laugh at the exact same stuff, but it still counts. My relationships with my other parents, step parents too, is immensely better because of the lessons I have learned from my mother. My career, my students, are and will be better off due to the truths I learned from my mother’s lips ( not to mention she taught me to read–which is really important for an English teacher).
But no one has benefited more from my mother and I’s relationship than my children. Because I am my mother’s daughter, my sons have a mother who focuses on kindness, empathy, compassion, and patience. I wouldn’t be half the mother I am without my own. My errors are mine alone, but the majority of my good decisions are strongly based in the woman who helped raised me.
Mama, it’s important to say outloud how amazing you are, but it’s far more important to make sure you hear it.
Thank you for taking care of me from birth to right this minute. Thank you for talking when you wanted to yell, explaining when you wanted to walk out of the room, saying no when it would have been so much easier to say yes. Thank you for that one time you spanked me when I stood on top of the chair to see the bunny out the window (you probably saved my life- I’m sure I was seconds from falling and crashing thru the window, we all know I’m not coordinated). Thank you for supporting my passions- even when they change, for pushing me to be a better person, for calling me out when it would be easier to stay quiet, for laughing at only things that we think are funny. Thank you for being there for the births of both of my kids, for being such an amazing GiGi but never forgetting to be my mother first. Thank you for spoiling me, for the sick blanket, for ‘I love you presents’.
Thank you for staying up all night with your daughter and her second baby, for somehow helping me find something to laugh at, and some air to breathe, when I was exhausted, overwhelmed and just wanted to cry.
Thank you for all the things you think I don’t notice- but I do.
I love you,