thankful: my mom

Jules and KathyGrowing up, I never quite understood my mom. She was always busy in the kitchen or at a sewing machine, and I was always buried in a book or entertaining the thoughts in my head. I saw her more as an interruption to my days than as someone I wanted to spend time with. We were truly polar opposites. And because I was so close to my dad, I probably saw Mom as a threat to my time with him. Of course, I could never verbalize that or even process that thought in my head, but there was definitely a barrier between me and her. And it didn’t break down until I reached adulthood.
Now that I know my mom better, I see her life in a different light. Whereas she always seemed so busy and irritated by any interruptions, I know now that she was often overwhelmed by her daily tasks as a stay-at-home mom of three daughters born within 5 years. Her time in the kitchen was a creative outlet for her, but it was also necessity to make every dollar stretch as far as it could. And her time with a sewing machine was to keep us in clothing without being forced to take us all shopping (which was a complete nightmare) where she could get only a few clothing items when her own skills could create an entire wardrobe for the same amount of money. As I began to realize these were her talents and that she worked so hard to make us all happy, I dubbed her “Betty Homemaker” and started to appreciate all that she can do.
My mom and I finally became friends when I finally grew up. I learned to assess her life within its context, and I realized how talented she is and how little I had learned from her. Although I still don’t actively seek her knowledge, I’m fully aware that she is a treasure for our family. She was responsible for raising three girls much of the time while my dad was working long hours and being called in during the night. I don’t remember my dad being absent, but I do know that it was often Mom who disciplined me in the daily moments and who helped me with school projects. The fact that Mom was always home when I returned from school was something I certainly took for granted at the time but was something that allowed me to feel secure and stable in my life. And that was invaluable to me as I struggled through an emotionally tumultuous adolescence.
My mom is now my best friend. She’s the one I call first when something good happens or when I need a bit of advice or an opinion. She’s my greatest teacher, and she’s my most honest confidante. I know that Mom will give it to me straight, and I know that she will also steer me in the right direction. It was she who gave me the greatest piece of advice I’ve ever received: when I was miserable in a job and felt no respect for my boss, she told me that the experience was necessary to build character. I’ve never forgotten those words. And when I find myself struggling and uncertain as to how I can change a situation, I always hear Mom’s voice saying, “This will build your character.” It never fails to put things into perspective or to give comfort.
I celebrate my mom on her birthday this Friday, and I thank God for bringing us to a new relationship early in my adulthood. She is a champion with a servant’s heart, and I want her to know how much I love her and cherish her life. You truly are a treasure, Mom! Happy birthday!


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