Becoming a mother has made me appreciate my own mother in a new and beautiful way. Mostly, I've realized how much I've taken her care, love, and support for granted.
The sleep she lost when I was sick, the time she spent driving me and sometimes my friends around from activity to activity, the cleaning of my poopy diapers, and the time spent listening to me talk incessantly about middle school drama, then eventually highschool drama, college drama, and now motherhood drama: these things I haven't thought twice about are things that were costly for her.
When I think back on my childhood and growing up years I can't help but notice that my life bears the deep marks of my mother's presence.
I remember her voice. I can't remember a day of my life when she wasn't reading to me. She's always had a way with words. She was always making up little songs and playing word games.
She loves to talk. I spent half of my childhood waiting for her to finish conversations in church parking lots, backstage at my dance recitals, and in school hallways.
Eavesdropping on her conversations became a hobby of mine, and what I learned mostly was how to empathize with and encourage other people.
I remember coming home from school in the second or third grade curious about a new batch of words I'd heard from some friends. She was ironing shirts in the kitchen while I rattled off the four or five cuss words I knew. She matter of factly told me exactly what the words meant and kept the conversation moving, no nonsense, no judgement just honesty.
I remember her small hands and the way her thick gold wedding band looked against the pigment of her brown skin: and her well manicured fingernails . Her hands were never very still. They were washing dishes, cooking meals, mopping the floor, cleaning bathrooms, and writing in her journal. She was either a flurry of activity or fast asleep.
She wasn't perfect . At times she yelled and got frustrated, at times she misunderstood and misinterpreted. But so did I. We didn't always see eye to eye but she was always there.
Now living thousands of miles away from my mother I can see how much of my life has been shaped by all the quiet hours I spent at home with her: working beside her, telling her all of my troubles and fears.
It's easy to get anxious about whether or not I'm doing enough for my children, but thinking back the thing I needed most from my mother was her presence and that is what she gave me.
I love you mom!