Mother’s Day is an odd holiday in my mind. Granted, it’s not as odd as Lumpy Rug Day, which is also in May. The point is that even though I’m a mother, I don’t feel like I need a special day to be acknowledged as such. I’m lucky enough to have a family that appreciates me every day.
Lumpy rugs, however…now, that’s a different story.
Mine is a young family, though—my daughter is only 12 and is still my Sweetpea. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a couple of years I’ll be writing a Mother’s Day post from an entirely different perspective.
Something like, “Please take my child. This mother stuff sucks!”
I’ve always thought Mother’s Day was more important for mothers of grown children. Now, there are women who need some appreciating. They’re the ones who’ve put in the hard time for the long haul, the time probably harder and longer for some than for others.
As an adult, it’s easy to forget everything my mom did for me and was to me throughout my childhood because it was so long ago. Trying to remember it all leaves me with the same feeling I have waking in the morning with the residue of a dream coating the edges of my brain—I forget about it as soon as the busyness of a new day scrubs it away.
So this blog post is for you, Mom—I’m bringing the “dream” of my childhood to the present, to this page, and listing the top four attributes that make you, and others like you, the best mom in the world:
For a whole year.
It was the first time I would be away from home for more than a couple of weeks. My mom never said, “Don’t go. I’ll miss you. I’m afraid something bad will happen all the way on the other side of the world.”
She said, “Go. Live your dream. Have an adventure.”
And then she cried a shit-ton of tears the day I left.
Here’s what I said in a journal entry a week after I got to Australia:
I miss my family so much, but especially my mom. I can’t get the image of her crying at the airport out of my mind! I feel like I’ve deserted her in some way. I feel really guilty about leaving her alone.
Years after I came home, she told me that had been one of the saddest days of her life. But she still let me go, regardless of how she felt.
Another example of her putting me first was when I had my first serious boyfriend at 16. She could see where things were headed, so one day after school she pulled me aside and said, “If you think you’re going to have sex, come to me and we’ll get you on birth control.”
“That was not an easy subject to broach,” she confessed later. But she said she had done it because she didn’t want me to do something that might alter the rest of my life.
Like procreate with a boy who came from a family of a lumpy rug wearers.
My Mom Was Cool, Without Even Trying
You all know where I stand with moms who try to be their child’s best friend and how that’s not a choice I’m making. I talked about that here.
Well, my mom was the parent all my friends wanted to be friends with.
On a regular basis, one of them would call our house.
“Hey, what’s up?” I’d ask.
“Uh, is your mom there?”
I’d hand the phone to my mom and watch her stretch the cord from the kitchen down the hall to chat with my friend.
And they almost always called to ask about the same thing—sex.
There was just something about my mom that put my friends at ease, made her approachable in a way that their own parents weren’t. While it pissed me off sometimes knowing that they were calling her instead of me, secretly I was proud.
She was the Dalai Lama of intercourse in our neighborhood, and that was street cred no amount of Z. Cavariccis could buy. Especially the kind with pleats.
As an example, one time my best friend’s sister impaled herself on her bedpost playing a rather aggressive game of hide and seek…which led to her accidentally and excruciatingly de-flowering herself. She was too embarrassed to tell her own mother what happened, so it was my mom who ran up the street to tend to her and her lady parts, and then drove her to the hospital.
That’s my mom—always concerned about our virginity.
Yeah, okay. Quit your laughing.
I’m sure some may argue that a mom who did any of the above didn’t set high standards at all. In fact, probably the opposite.
The summer between the eighth and ninth grades, my brother, my best friend and I stayed with my grandparents in Arkansas. While there, I met a really cute boy who I found out had a penchant for sucking on my neck.
Hence, my first hickey.
In my defense, I had no idea what he was doing.
I had short hair and my grandparents weren’t blind—I would never have let him do that had I known what the hell was going on.
I begged my grandparents not to tell my mom. They just laughed and started telling me a gross story about the first time my grandpa gave my grandma a hickey. But they never said a word to my mom.
When I was in my early twenties, I told my mom about my hematoma summer.
She thrust her hands on her hips and took a step toward me, her face only a couple shades lighter than the “bruise” on my neck had been.
“Kelly! How could you?”
I reminded her of the rather progressive birth control talk we’d had when I was a teenager. I asked her how she could be okay with me having sex at 16 but could lose her mind when she found out someone gave me a hickey almost 10 years after it had happened.
“You can’t see when someone’s had sex! A hickey’s right out there in the open, for everyone to see!”
My mom also demonstrated her high standards while my parents were divorced for a few years when I was little. During that time, we occasionally had babysitters.
One night when my mom was working the late shift and the babysitter was at our place, I woke and went to the kitchen to get a snack. No one was in the house except my brother and me. Just as I was turning to head back to bed, the babysitter and a couple of her friends walked in the back door.
After I told my mom the next morning that the babysitter had been in her birthday suit and that she had brought some similarly dressed friends home with her, we never saw Nudie Trudy again.
Standards, I tell you!
In 2009, when my daughter was eight and I was 40, I had a kind of post-traumatic bout of postpartum depression that first surfaced days after my daughter was born in 2001 (I talked about that here).
That morning in 2009, a few days before my daughter’s birthday, memories of the “horrible” mother I’d been after our daughter was born careened through my mind. In seconds, I was sobbing and couldn’t stop for hours.
My husband and daughter couldn’t console me.
“Do you want me to call your mom?” my husband asked. I nodded my head.
My mom drove two and half hours, crawled in bed with me and held me while I wailed, guilt-stricken for all the ways I felt I’d failed as a mother. She stayed with me for two days. But she would have stayed for two years if I had asked her.
That’s just the kind of mom she is.
How could I forget DoritoGate and the “lesson” my mom taught me about the importance of sharing (even though I’d worked really hard for those Doritos and spent my last few dollars of allowance on them). I won’t go into any more details because I know how much she loves it when I share that story.
And I wouldn’t want her to get arrested for child abuse now. Come on, she’s retired and rescues wild cats. It was only a slap after all…
I hope some day my daughter feels compelled to write something like this about me—except the DoritoGate part.
I’m better than that.
I love you, Mom!