Thoughts of Mom, from a 21-year-old daughter

I was reluctant to write this cheery blog, because I know that Mother’s Day brings pain to many. It is probably the day that is filled with the greatest emotional gut-punch. Although there are those of us whose mothers are still alive and who have secure and loving relationships with our mothers, there are also those who are grieving the loss of their mothers. There are those with painful memories of mothers who didn’t give them the love they needed. There are women who desperately want to be mothers but can’t. There are women who have experienced the heart-wrenching death of their children. There are mothers who carry guilt about things done or undone. I remember the emptiness I felt on Mother’s Day as a thirty-something single woman without children.

But I do have an awesome mother. She was the one I wrote about in elementary school when the prompt was “write about your hero.” And so I celebrate her on Mother’s Day. I could write about my mom’s self-sacrificing love for our family, her imagination and playfulness, her ingenuity and resourcefulness, her ability to be fully present with each of us, and so much more.

I’ll start with the words I wrote to her in a Mother’s Day card when I was 21 years old. The original card, made of construction paper, magazine pictures, and glue, is in a family scrapbook stored at my brother’s house. Most people won’t understand some of the things mentioned, and this attempt at expressing love for my mom is far from eloquent, but it reminds me that I wasn’t a perfect child.

Mom– How did you do it? You put up with me even when I …

  • begged to stay up and watch one more TV show — and I watched from the steps anyway when told to go to bed;
  • used the bed as a trampoline;
  • remembered on Sunday night that my gym clothes needed washing and then forgot to take them on Monday morning;
  • made forts behind the cereal boxes;
  • got away from the table by crawling under;
  • felt “yucky all over” on school days but never on snow days;
  • wanted to bring the most difficult things to school for show-and-tell — like puppies or brothers;
  • raised turtles, goldfish, hamsters, wounded birds…;
  • fought over a window seat in the car or argued about “crossing the line” between my side of the seat and the other;
  • slammed the door;
  • cried when I had to eat icky fish;
  • performed plays and pageants for every occasion;
  • practiced the same song on the piano every day;
  • wanted my hair in curlers but wouldn’t hold still, then flattened the curls with water the next morning;
  • worked on masterpieces like the Golden Gate Bridge or the early Methodist churches.

Ever since those days of birthday parties and swings, triangle scarves and chicken pox, you have been a person I could count on. It’s amazing how much more I appreciate everything you’ve done for me now that I’m older. For all the times I never said it when I was growing up, “Thanks, Mom.” Now, more than ever, you continue to be a source of strength for me — a friend and an encourager.

I couldn’t have spent the last 21 years with a better set of parents. I love you. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Love, Marcia

This is the (almost) 40-year-old card, still preserved in a family scrapbook.

The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.

Henry Ward Beecher

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