I have tried to begin this post about seven different ways. It is the hardest one that I have yet written.
“My Mother is a poem
I’ll never be able to write,
Though everything I write
is a poem to my Mother.”
How do you describe your greatest influence, the most important person in your life? The one who loves you unconditionally, no matter how many times you break her heart; the one who has been there for you, protected you, taught you, sacrificed for you, loved you, forever. How do you justice to that? There aren’t words enough; it can’t be done.
There is no one on this earth, no one that I have met or will ever meet, greater than my mother. Life was never easy for her, especially not after my brother, and then I, was born. She has powered through situations that many women will, thankfully, never find themselves in. It has taken me twenty-three years to get to know the woman that I call “Momma”, and I am always learning new things about her. You would think after so many years the mystery would be lost but she surprises me everyday. It makes writing this even harder. How do you describe someone you are still getting to know?
I gave her Hell as a teenager. What more could you expect? I defied her, I rebelled, I fought against her. She didn’t understand me then, I thought. The funny thing is, I’ve come to realize that it was me who didn’t understand her. I didn’t take the time to get to know her, to hear about her life. I didn’t know the woman she was before she was Momma. I didn’t know of the sacrifices she made for my brother and me. I was unaware of the lengths she was willing to go to protect us, or how hard she worked to provide for us. We always had everything we needed; clothes, toys, food. She woke us up in the mornings, got us ready for school, fed us, then went to work where she would stay until long after our school day was over. When we all got home, she cooked for us. And I don’t mean microwave dinners or grilled cheese sandwiches. Momma went all out. Chicken fried steak and gravy, meatloaf, lasagna, enchiladas, dumplings, pot roast, things that took hours to make. I actually used to think that microwave dinners were a treat because we never had them.
She baked cakes for our birthdays, and sometimes just because. No matter what, we always had a hot meal. No chef can top her cooking.
Not only is she the best cook, she’s also the best doctor. She wasn’t the kind of mom that poured Robitussin down our throats for every sniffle (though back then it tasted so good that I wouldn’t have minded), she had her own remedies. Sprite and saltines for upset stomachs, soup for colds and band-aids for everything else. When I woke up in the middle of the night, crying due to leg cramps, she came in my room and massaged my feet until I went back to sleep. She didn’t complain about having to stay up with me all night, she just did it.
She could be the most intimidating person when she was mad, even at 5’3″, but she was always fair. A fact that I never admitted to her then.
That was all just in a day’s work, not to mention the endless cleaning. My brother and I were given chores but that didn’t mean mom got a break. It all needed to be perfect, though to her it never was. She cooked, cleaned, healed, played, laughed, loved and always sang. I used to get so frustrated because when I was mad, if I said something that reminded her of a song, she sang it. Right in the middle of me being dramatic, she’d just start singing. Her favorite was that Rolling Stones song, the one that goes, “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes well you just might find, you get what you need”. She never sang the whole song though, just the “you can’t always get what you want” part. It drove me crazy and she knew it. I think that’s why she did it. It doesn’t bother me now, because that’s just who she is.
My mother has always been there for me. She supports my every decision, even the ones she disagrees with. She keeps me level, reminding me that things won’t always work out the way that I want but they’ll always work out for the best. She has become my greatest friend, biggest fan, the most important person in my life.
I am who I am because my mother is who she is. Loving, supportive, hard-working, independent, strong, intelligent, beautiful, amazing; any of those, all of those. Nothing I say can even begin to clue you in to this wonderful woman. I wish that I could give back some of what she’s given to me. I wish that I will be even a fraction of the woman that she is. I hope I make her proud. And on this day, her birthday, I hope that she knows just how much she is loved and appreciated.
Happy Birthday Momma!