As Mother’s Day quickly approaches, I’d be remiss if I didn’t devote an entire blog to the mom who got me here, the mom – my mom – who basically taught me all the things worth knowing about being a mom who shows up every time. She didn’t realize she was doing this, I don’t think, and will, instead, point out what a good job my sister and I are doing at raising our girls. She’ll say stuff like, “Wow, I wish I could’ve been that patient with you two,” or “You are such a natural,” or “Wow, I wish they’d had affordable disposable diapers//the internet/disposable wipes when I was raising you guys!” To which I will quickly say, “I would just leave. I’d abandon my kids, never to return again, if they hadn’t invented the pack n play and iPads by the time I became a parent.” Which is truth. Also, I remind her that my sister and I didn’t come out of a box this way, and she played a pretty major role in who we’ve become for our daughters today (um, also, I'd be remiss not to mention here that my mom and sister are on my speed-dial/text chain for any parenting question I have, ever. My kids have zero idea that they're basically being raised by all three Amos women at once and we will keep it that way until they blame me for things later in life and then I'm like, "But that was grandma/Aunt Amanda's idea, I swear!")
Look, I know that some people don’t have a mom at all, and some have so-so moms, neglectful, distant, or absentee moms. Some people have helicopter moms, bulldozer moms, and free-range moms. But the overarching theme for most of us, I think, is that we had moms who were simply trying their best, on any given day, in their given situations, with the tools they had at the time. And honestly, isn’t that what we’re doing?
Fortunately for me, my mom’s best was pretty damn stellar. Sure, there was that time she forgot me outside of kindergarten, in the rain, for, like, an hour because she got caught up chatting at the kitchen table with my aunt. But I forgave her quickly and only bring that story up maybe once or a twice a year, just to keep her humble.
But overall, she was the one driving me to practice, school, a friend’s house. She was the one comforting me when I was sick, broken-hearted, or scared. She put up with me at the mall when we’d shop for clothes, even though all she wanted to do in her soul was to run away screaming, never looking back – and no court in the land would convict her for doing so. She remembered every name of every boy I ever liked, every friend I ever made, and bought me a bitchin’ cat cardigan to wear to the 7th grade dance. She worked nights, weekends, and holidays, yet woke up to make us breakfast and get us off to school in one piece. She was an ever-present force of love and what was right. She got her Master’s degree while working and raising two kids and being married and grocery shopping and cleaning the house and remembering when our stupid field trips were…and she didn’t even blog about it! And she didn’t have Amazon Prime! She just did it.
She did it while I was caught up in which boy might love my bitchin’ cat cardigan (see: all of 'em, obvi) and sent me care packages “just because” when I was away at camp or college. She would cry over the ugliest craft ever made by a child and they were legitimate tears of joy and not embarrassment or sadness that she didn’t get a real gift. Plus, my sister and I started a contest each year to see which card or gift would make her cry the most. Because kids are the worst.
She was my mom through the exhaustion and frustration and love and joy and peacock bangs and Miss Piggy Big Wheels. At all times, she has been, unflaggingly, MOM. She believed in me and let me fly off to New York City at the tender age of 23, even though I was an idiot who didn’t know anything except that it was my destiny, mom, god. And she didn’t even roll her eyes to my face. Probably because she knew, somewhere deep down, that part of me wanted to capture some of the magic I’d heard her talking about from her nursing school days in that very same city. And whether she knew it or not, she was teaching me how to grow wings by sharing her stories with me, which is one of the biggest lessons I’ve taken into my own motherhood. She taught me by her actions, as much as by her words, how to take chances, believe in myself, grow, change, stay committed, do hard things, and love.
And though I’ve said it many times before, it bears repeating: I’m a better mom because of her and my kids are better off because they have her as their grandma. She makes other moms look bad and I love her for it.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the MOMS – the birth mamas, the adoptive mamas, the found mamas, the exhausted mamas, the brave mamas, the scared mamas, and the “it takes a village” mamas. You help make this world softer and fiercer. You go, mama.