Every year I struggle in vain to find a card for my mother which will put into words what I find so difficult to say or even write myself, but this year I wanted to try and articulate what my mom means to me.
This past week I have been sick: a sore throat, it sounds measly, but it's been pretty grotesque and hideously painful. Naturally the eight-year-old in me comes out when I feel even the slightest bit unwell and I call my mom crying at four a.m. that I can't swallow or sleep and she patiently and lovingly tells me what to do. As if, I, a grown woman, can't figure it out on my own. It doesn't matter. I can figure it out on my own, but there's something about my mother's calm support and words of sympathy that are like a sweet cherry cough drop to my throbbing throat.
But that's a given you say, any good mother worth her salt takes care of her sick children. True. So I shall press on. This memory came into my head the other day while driving. Somewhere in time around the fifth grade, I had woken up in the night certain there was an intruder in my bedroom trying to kidnap me. It was probably my overactive imagination combined with a nightmare, but it was enough to send me peeling for my parents bedroom. In a fit of hysteria I shook my mom up telling her about my frightful encounter. She nodded bleary-eyed and patted the middle of the bed in between her and my dad. In I climbed, tucked safely between them. Sure I slept with my arms crossed tightly to my chest just to be safe, but I knew with certainty that if there actually had been an intruder trying to get to me, that no-gooder would've had to deal with a very protective mama bear who doesn't take kindly to anyone messing with her little cubs!
So your mom let you sleep in her bed when you were scared too? Fine, I can see that. But wait. Does your mom ask you simple little favors every once in awhile, like would you be willing to help me write this paragraph for a contest I'm entering? or if you wouldn't mind looking up this piece of information and getting back to me? And being a scatty daughter you put it on a mental list with the likes of: you really outta back up your computer files and get an oil change sometime in the next six months. And what does my fine mother do when you never get to that paragraph or keep forgetting to find the information she needed? She doesn't scold or get annoyed or say that she's done hundreds of thousands of beautiful, thoughtful things for you over the years. Or even bring up the not so beautiful things like how she tirelessly cleaned up your vomit when you were four, five, six, eight and would knock on her door, tell her somberly that you puked but somehow missed the toilet and then trudge back to bed, knowing full well she'd take care of it. Or how about listening to you sob hysterically over a break-up and although she might not have known what to do with you, she held you anyway and told you you'd be okay. And what about the times she'd take you to get your fillings when you didn't listen and floss your teeth like the dentist said, or she'd watch white knuckled in the passenger seat while you attempted your first parallel park. And still, she doesn't hoard that over you and say, "All I asked you to do was write that one little paragraph!" Nope. She forgives your thoughtlessness and still is there for you when you cry or hurt or don't really listen to her problems because you're overwhelmed with your own. But does she ever give you a taste of your own medicine? No of course not. Never.
Maybe your mom too has done all these things and is also an exceptional woman. I can believe it. There are lots of great mothers out there, but hey maybe I'm partial, but I don't think they can hold a candle to my mom. My mom who has recently been told on numerous occasions how homesick I am (maybe because I wail about it every time I call her) sent me this video on Mother's Day. Her day. The day honoring all she does for every single one of her children, 365 days a year, for going on twenty-four years now.
Wishing You Were Home
I am not sure if you can see now, why I find I fall short every year in thanking my mother for all she does for me, in telling her I love her so much more than, me, a writer could ever put into the most exquisite of words, because she is just too mesmerizing and astounding for me to come close to knowing what to say. But I tried, mom. Even though you deserve more than one day of recognition for all that you do, and I've spent countless days not showing you the appreciation you so richly deserve, I still want to attempt to say thank you. And Happy Mother's Day Mom. I would be nothing without you.