In an age when most acts of appreciation have taken the route of tangible exchange, I wanted to give you something a bit more this year. You see, I could send you flowers, cards… buy you gifts – all of which you deserve for the great job that you did – but, that doesn’t really accomplish much beyond sending a quick reminder that I appreciate the role you have played in my life. So, my goal this year on Mother’s Day is to give you something you can keep. Something that, no matter what, you can refer back to anytime you wonder if, as a Mother, you made an impact.
5 Ways That My Mom Changed My Life
Yes, I know… this is a given. But, on December 24, 1978 at just past 9:00 PM, my Mom had to go through with the final process of giving me life. This was no easy task. You see, I was over 9 pounds and had a head the size of a volleyball. In fact, in my younger years, I was often called Charlie Brown. Yeah, laugh it up… but, I do recognize that someone had to endure the pain in bringing my cartoon-like figure to life. For this, I thank you Mom.
I know that I caused more than a handful of headaches in my youth. Like the time that I brought the duck home from pre-school and you were left constantly cleaning the mess up. Perhaps the 50 foot long mud slide that I decided to make in the backyard stands out in your mind… or, how can I forget the time that I decided to wade through the swamp in an effort to understand what the frogs were up to at midnight. Wow, in hindsight, you were pretty awesome for letting me do the things that boys do when imagination leads the way.
But, what really stands out about growing up with you as my Mom is the quality time that you protected for me. I still remember that every Wednesday you would pick me up from school so that we could go eat quesadillas at our favorite Mexican restaurant. I also remember how patient you were when I was getting braces… you would always make sure that my pain became your priority. Of course, these recollections would be incomplete without mentioning the time that you took me camping on the back deck in the middle of Summer. No, we didn’t have to hike five miles to a campsite, but it was fun hanging out with you just pretending that we went on a big adventure… for me, it was a big adventure. For this, I thank you Mom.
Letting Me Go
I can only imagine that age 16 snuck up on you quickly. That Summer day when we said our good-byes at the airport before I headed off to Guatemala for a year must have been tough. I remember looking down from the airplane, tears streaming down my face, in a rush of emotions that can only be triggered by the first time a child leaves the nest. If it was hard for me, I can only imagine what that moment must have been like for you. To make it worse, we couldn’t communicate for months, which must have been a lesson in both patience and resilience.
A year and many adventures later, I returned home to Oregon to find you and Dad continuing on with the life I had left behind. While I had changed immensely in my year away, there was no comfort greater at that moment than to be home. Not more than a year later, you had to let me go again… this time to not only move to a foreign country (Argentina), but to also allow me to follow the girl of my dreams. Having been the primary female figure in my life up until that point, I’m sure that the departure left you with mixed emotions. Once again, you were able to swallow the pain and let me go… I thank you Mom.
It probably wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I started to realize all of the lessons that you had taught me in my youth. But, you should know that a number of them have, and will continue to, change my life. These are, more than likely, the same lessons that I will work to teach my children when that time comes.
You always taught me that it never hurts to ask. While others sit back and wonder what could be, I’ve always done my best to push through the fear of rejection by remembering this lesson. This one piece of advice has opened more doors for me than you can imagine. I’m often startled by how simple things can be when we just focus on them going the way we want them to. Internalizing the idea that “it never hurts to ask,” changed my life and I’m sure it will continue to.
The other big lesson, for which both you and Dad are responsible, has been to enjoy the small things. Everyone seems to preach about it, but I don’t think that many people actually do it. It wasn’t through your advice, but through your example, that I learned this. Whether it be the way that my Wife’s hair turns a slight shade of red in the sunlight or the sound of a bird that recently moved into the neighborhood, you always took the time to slow me down enough to place value on the small brush strokes that make up the larger painting. For this, I thank you Mom.
In an age when individuals focus more on what sets us apart than what ties us together, you always showed me what it meant to accept others. For all the flaws that nature bestows upon us, it was refreshing to know that you constantly worked to find the good in a person before ever focusing on a shortcoming. Perhaps, for this reason, I now find myself surrounded by the most amazing bouquet of friends a person could ask for. This lesson continues to enrich my life and develop my mind in the greatest of ways!
You also taught me that the end of our journey together, while hard for me to contemplate, would have to come. This lesson alone has opened my mind to how important it is to enjoy the time we spend together, value the life that we have shared and, when the end arrives, to appreciate you for the amazing impact you’ve made on my life rather than the loss. I’m not looking forward to living this lesson, but please know that your impact on me and on the family I create will be long lasting because of the example you have lived. For this, I thank you Mom.
A Day In May
It’s a special day in May to thank you for the profound role that you have played in my life. Please know that I thank you daily for everything that you have given me. The love, the patience, the lessons… they all have helped shaped me in to who I am today.
So, as with everything else, this letter must come to an end. May you know today and always that you mean the world to me and I appreciate everything that you have done. I thank you Mom.