Friday, May 9, 2008

My Momma!

With Mother's Day upon us (Sunday everyone! Look alive, people!) and with my guilt for not living in the same country as my mother for this particular day, I thought I'd type up a little something for my own mamadukes.

My mom hates Mother's Day. I found this out one Sunday when she was asked to speak at church about Mother's Day and announced her hatred of the holiday from the pulpit. I was crushed.

Now, as a mother myself, I understand where she was coming from. Being a mom is HARD WORK. And I say that only having one child, while my mom had five. And at any given time, a couple of cats and dogs as well. And nothing says "We appreciate you, MOM!" Like a church service where everyone speaks about their impossibly perfect mothers, making you feel like the worst mother of all time. And then, just when you get your hopes up for some ginormous display of affection, someone passes you a card and potted plant. Hey mom, thanks for all your hard work, tears, late nights, worries, and GIVING ME LIFE. Here's a half-dead flower.

So I get it now. But, in the spirit of homemade gifts that will never end, this is a little present for my mom.

Mom, you are the best. I know everyone thinks their mom's are the best, but really. They just secretly wish you were their mom. I know you aren't a traditional Betty Crocker mom. I can't really remember baking cookies with you, or knitting blankets with you, but I'm glad I don't have to use those as my fondest memories of you. Instead we shared late nights, lots of movies, lots of talking and crying together, lots of stupid moments that wouldn't make sense to anyone else (turtle on it's back + wheezing = priceless). You are my greatest cheerleader as I muddle along through my adulthood, and you try not to say I told you so... that often. You are an advocate for me when I am upset, and you are the happiest for me when I accomplish anything, whether big or small.

When we were just little kids, and at the hospital with dad when he was sick, and that lady stopped to tell you that you were one fine fox of a mom (those were her actual words). You taught us about confidence. When you went back to school after we were all grown, you taught us about determination. When you started your business after leaving a stable job, you taught us about courage. All five Porter kids have strong personalities, and we owe it to you. We learn by example, and you are the greatest example to us. Not only that, but you allow us those personalities. We've all chosen different and sometimes crazy paths in our lives- at any given time half the family are in different parts of the world, but our Independence is a gift from a mom who didn't smother, who let us make our own mistakes, and just quietly picked up the pieces when they were wrong.

Now that I have my own daughter, things have become clearer every day. As I stand in the present, I look to my past as your daughter, and to my future at my own. I know now what a thankless job raising a little girl is. One moment you are the center of her universe until suddenly she's grown up and gone away, pulling her suitcase through the airport by herself. And it's not until she leaves that she realizes that everything she's become is because of you. So I guess that's the great irony of motherhood. That the thanks don't come until long after you've stopped tucking them in, changing the diapers or wiping away the tears. The thanks can't possibly come until your daughter is doing those things herself.

So thanks mom. Thanks for letting me be myself. For letting me make my own choices. For three-hour conversations on Sunday night when it is way past the time you want to go to sleep. For the advice, without being condescending. For the confidence to be an individual when I'm always the odd one out. For always making it easy for me to come home.

Even though I know Mother's Day isn't your favourite (although it may be now that we're all grown up and you don't have to take care of us), go to church anyways. Listen to the talks of the people who's mother's baked them countless apple pies and sewed them Halloween costumes. And know that there are five kids who would never have wanted a mom like that. Instead we got a mom who was funny, passionate, silly and strong. You may not be the picture perfect June Cleaver mom, but you're ours.

And we wouldn't have it any other way.

Love you!



Bonnie said...

Mother's Day would never be complete without one of your "homemade" gifts and while I've loved all of the others you've given me over the years...this is definitely the best!!! And by the way - it's not cool to make your mom cry at work -it's too hard to try and not be obvious - plus it turns my nose red!!
(PS - I think I've been crushed...I always thought June Cleaver and I had lots in common - ah, who am I kidding? No one would ever mistake us for the same person, even if she had red hair.) Thanks again for giving me such a fabulous Mother's Day - and it's not even Sunday yet!! Love You - Mom

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