Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and I want to make sure you receive the credit that you are due.
I know it’s been some years since I lived under your roof and relied on you for food and car rides and money and basic care. But now I have the opportunity to look back on my childhood and honestly say that I appreciate everything you did now more than ever.
I was lucky enough to have the rare and fortunate upbringing of a “stay-at-home” mom. Because of that, you never missed a talent show or a track meet. A student council election or a field trip. Not even a basketball game (during the very short-lived period I actually believed I was capable of playing basketball before, to my surprise, I didn’t make the team – at which point, I thought my world had come to an end and was sobbing uncontrollably and you were there to pick me up and hug me and make me realize there were other things for me.) ((And thanks for waiting years later to gently inform me that I was never, in fact, very good at basketball. Looking back, it’s really not surprising given my impeccable record with hand-eye coordination…))
I digress. The point is – your “stay-at-home” status was kind of a joke. Because honestly, you were never at home. You were always everywhere my brother and I were. You were my Girl Scout leader, and not just mine, but the leader of probably 20-30 other young girls throughout the years. You were my “dance mom,” always there to watch me practice and occasionally sew Christmas-tree costumes that, to no fault of your own, left a bunch of 10-year-old girls flailing around stage unable to see. You were my “cheer mom” who drove me to football games and sat through hot practices in the summer. You were my “academic team mom” (although, that’s not entirely accurate – it was technically an “Aqua-demic team, in which we competed entirely based on our knowledge of water…that was a real thing…I’m not kidding). You were my “stage mom” – helping me pick out stage dresses, driving me from city to city (or rather, town to town) to sing my little heart out for whoever would listen at any given festival, coffee shop, bar or bowling alley that would have me.
Whatever I did, you fully supported me. You were proud of me. You made me feel important. You loved me unconditionally. But it’s not just that you were there for me. It’s what your presence taught me about love. You didn’t just love me, or my dad or my brother. Through your actions, you taught me the importance of loving others.
You were never just my mom. Having an older brother, I guess that sounds pretty obvious, but that’s not really what I mean. Really, you were everyone’s mom. Those girls in our Girl Scout troop you lead every week and took to camp every year; the kids on the track team you bought Wendy’s for because you’d spent the whole day at the meet with us and everyone was tired of concession stand food; the kids you allowed to practically take over our home on any given day or night for slumber parties, Halloween parties, karaoke jam lunch breaks during driver’s ed, dinner after school, lemonade stands, etc. Our house was always open to our friends.
The kids at school, sometimes kids I barely knew, called you “mom” or “Miss Tami.” On the extremely rare occasion you were not available to attend a school field trip, I would have multiple kids asking me where my mom was and why she wasn’t there. Everybody loved having you around. And I did, too. I felt lucky. I felt loved.
And just so you know – seeing you take on an entirely new role when I went to college and our family needed your support, has been truly inspiring for me. I know it hasn’t always been easy for you. But you are hands down one of the most hard-working, reliable, selfless and incredible women I’ve ever known. You make me proud to be your daughter.
I don’t mean to undermine any other moms, whether they’re working moms or stay-at-home moms, or anything in between. All I’m saying is that I’m thankful for you. For your presence and support my entire life. Everyone should be so lucky to have a mom who loves as fiercely as you do.
Thank you for being you, Mom. I love you.
My beautiful mom on her wedding day in 1980.
And with me on mine in 2011.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms out there, but especially to mine!