Before Perú


May 11, 2015

Ya know how there are some things you can find the words for and there are some things you can’t?

I was thinking today and realized how easy it is for me to write sentimental Facebook posts for my Daddy J on Father’s Day or to my sisters and brothers on National Siblings Day; but then I go to write for post to my mom on Mother’s Day, and I don’t quite know what to say.

It’s not that I have nothing to say about my mother; the woman is amazing. It’s simply that I can’t quite find the words on where to begin.

Even now I have no words, yet I’m sitting here trying to write this.

I mean, what do I say about the woman who carried me in her belly for nine months, who gave me life and gave me the very best one she knew how to give?

A “thank you” doesn’t seem to suffice.

So, what do I say then?

Maybe memories will help me where words fail me…

When we were growing up she would eat sourdough pretzels and oranges every day. She would snack, fold laundry and watch All My Children. We weren’t allowed to watch it with her, but as I got a little older, she let me sit alongside her. Of course, I had to be folding too. (She even shared her pretzels which was kind of a big deal to me since those were the one thing she bought for herself.)

She is the kind of mom that didn’t let her kids watch The Simpsons, or South Park, or King of the Hill…  because they were inappropriate. A good, thoughtful mom she was.

My mom has always had a great sense of humor. In fact, I often think of my mother laughing when I imagine different scenes of her from my life.

She also has a very distinct laugh. She lets out this loud, elongated “Haaa!” when something is really funny, and when something is extremely funny she almost sounds like she’s having a panic attack. Imagine laughing out your air in a rhythmic breath, like “ah-ah-ah-ah” until there’s no more air left, and almost gasping for more air on the inhale.

She’s a good cook. She never did the recipe thing when we were growing up because she just knew which ingredients went well together. I never thought about it when I was young, but – in retrospect – it’s safe to say the woman has never quite had the patience to measure in a spoon – let alone measure multiple things in multiple spoons!

I suppose that leads me to the next thing I was going to say: she has no short term patience, but she has the ability to stick with things for the long haul.

My mother devoted much of her time to not only being a mom but to also being a teacher. I was homeschooled for more than half of my academic life, but even when we weren’t homeschooled, she was always there to teach us. She made it easy and fun to learn with all of the exciting projects she prepared for us.

My mom loved us  enough to discipline us as a children. I remember specifically the time she leapt across the room at me as a teenager, pinned me to the bed and screamed at my face. This must have been the most epic disciplinary moment of my entire life because it was so not like her to leap across rooms to pounce on her children, but I must have been acting extremely intolerable at the time. Though I was slightly concerned, I was also only moments shy of bursting into laughter because it was just that funny to see her prance like a tiger. I vaguely remember a lot of flying spit, too. Oh, mom. How I love you.

This leads me to another thought: My mom managed to keep up with me in my teen years. Let me take a moment to say I was a very good teenager – so good that my sisters referred to me as “The Nun”. (I loathed this at the time). Nonetheless, I caused many fights with my mother even if they were just to annoy her. I also had my personal struggles, and she never left me to battle those on my own.

When I was young I would notice how my mom always kissed my dad in the kitchen when he got home from work, and it wasn’t just a little smooch. It was more like a mini-make out session according to my young eyes. I would notice it, and I would hope I could love someone that much one day.

She usually sings a Madonna song or two for karaoke… and rocks it.

She has the worst poker face. Sometimes you don’t even have to ask the question to know the answer.

She’s been burned a handful of times by different people and social groups but has an impeccable ability to bounce back and not let it ruin her day or month or year.

My mom was that mom who came into the bathroom the day I was broken up with by the guy I thought was the love of my life (but seriously). I was bawling hysterically. I could barely breathe, and I didn’t want her to be there. I wanted to wallow in my self-pity alone. She knew otherwise, though, and wrapped her uninvited arms around me and whispered she was sorry into my ear.

She has always been so full of joy for me and the kids when we accomplish something. She never ceases to be so proud of us, and she means it when she says it. Like when we bought our first house, she was just so glad but not surprised. Ya know?

My mom has always been the person to push me when it comes to singing. She would always encourage me to pursue more because she knew there was something there. “I’m not just telling you this because I’m your mom,” she would say. I always appreciated that support from her.

She’s been right about things a large majority of my life (and the lives of my sisters and brothers). It’s this little gift she likes to brag about, and though she is sometimes wrong, she rarely is. I hate admitting that every time. She does have the humility to admit and apologize when she is wrong, though, and boy, did I love when she was wrong growing up. (Okay, sometimes I still do.) Sorry, Mom.

Speaking of that, my mom knew my husband was the One for me before I did, and I absolutely argued it because I never thought Bear and I would fall in love – let alone marry. I thought we were just best friends. I was wrong. Typical.

My mom’s example of love for my dad has shown me how to love Bear deeply.

She also taught me how to fight for the things I want. Or maybe it was to fight with the things I want. Hence my profound ability to argue with Bear over silly things.

Last year I hit an all-time-low with my depression and anxiety. The circumstances life had handed Bear and I were too difficult to bear, and I lost sight of why I was here. It was my mother who helped me survive that season. In all of my years I had never experienced so much grace and patience and support from her. If it weren’t for her, I just don’t know.

One thing I’m certain of is I don’t want to imagine my life without her. When the day comes where she goes to rest I want to go with her.

I know my mom is completely imperfect, but she has been and continues to be the perfect mom for me and for my siblings. A match made in heaven, perhaps?

Twenty seven years and counting of memories with this wonderful woman I call Mom. I wish I could find the words to describe what you mean to me, Momma. Love you to the moon and back!

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