Where The Rubber Hits The Road

A letter to my Mom

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Dear Mom,

For starters, I’m sorry I didn’t get you a card. I know, all you ever ask for is a nice card. Mothers everywhere echo the sentiment, while secretly hoping in their heart of hearts (wherever the heck that is) that their children will magically tap into the the hidden place full of longings, and figure out that they just want (fill in the blank). Usually it’s just a day without the damn kids crawling all over you, and how hard is it to figure that out, since the day I pushed your huge ass head out of my secret garden ALL I’ve ever wanted was a minute to myself! Kids are selfish, by nature, so mothers usually get burnt breakfast in bed and a day planned out minute by minute that usually involves mom doing 98% of the work. Ah, Mothers Day.

So I hope this blog post takes the place of a nice card. If not, the card is in the mail. It will be belated.

My mom had my sister and I very close together. When that happens we like to call it a “surprise”…which we all know is the nice word for accident. I can’t imagine how full my mom’s hands were as she adjusted to caring for two small children, especially after leaving her whole world behind in Canada to travel to whatever awaited in California. I will say, however hard it was, she never made me feel like I was an accident.

An early memory I have of my mom is her yelling from the kitchen, “If you guys yell one more time!” I can’t tell you why we were yelling. Put two girls together of similar age and there will be yelling. I also don’t know what the threat to follow would be. She was probably too tired to come up with anything meaningful.

My mom is hilarious. One of the things I love about her. My parents have lived many places and met many people over the years. And the thing that always comes up any time one of those old timers come to visit is how my mom has always made them laugh. I got a strange mix of my dad’s gift for puns and my mom’s gift for making people laugh. She memorized dozen of jokes from Readers Digest and was ready to tell them any chance that arose.

My mom taught me (and continues to teach me) about empathy. Growing up, I would come home and tell her about the way someone had hurt my feelings. And her response was, “Maybe they are going through something rough.” As a kid, that response made no sense to me. But now, as an adult, I get what a gift it is to walk in another person’s shoes. The gift of perspective and empathy. My mom continues to display such incredible kindness to the families she works with, often refugees, who have suffered unthinkable hardships.

My sister and I were home schooled for middle school. My mom had us making bagels for Home Ec, and running down the ditch bank to prepare us for running the mile (which we had heard was a requirement in high school.) There was never a dull moment, as mom grasped at straws trying to find anything at all that could be considered school work.

On occasion during high school (in which I wasn’t prepared to run the mile) my mom would take my sister and I for a blueberry muffin at a little shop before school. We would talk about life then she would drive us to school late. It didn’t hurt that we were close friends with Tish, who handled attendance at school. But I remember feeling so special on those mornings to have a little extra time with my mom. I felt like she really got us in those moments. That she understood that life needed to be about more than just school. My mom has continued that tradition all these years later, and tries to take a friend to coffee once a week. She and I have our coffee dates frequently, too, and I always love them.

My mom isn’t perfect. But I know she’d do just about anything in her power to be there for me. Including doing the Polar Bear Plunge with me three years in a row! She was a rock for me during the horrible years following my divorce. And she continues to be available to listen and even to pop over and surprise me by doing my dishes for me (a chore I hate more than anything else in life.)

My mom lives simply. She doesn’t mince words. She loves parties and coffee and beach days. She loves crime shows and mysteries and can read a book in one day, which I have yet to accomplish.

Happy Mothers Day, Mom! Thank you for all the amazing things you’ve taught me, and all the amazing ways you’ve loved and been there for me! I can’t imagine life without you!

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