“I hate to break it to you, but you don’t know what pain is. Get up. You’re fine!” Your tough love is forever imprinted on my being. ( read: scars) Except when my foot was really broken and I fell trying to walk. Twice.
You pushed me to be the best. At age three, you went all Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and made me play the violin. Mandating I listen to classical concertos as I fell asleep at night. I mastered the eye roll at an early age due to Vivaldi.
Honesty was the best policy. That’s why you made me apologize to my entire first grade class for fabricating a prayer request that involved violence, injury, and multiple family members. We didn’t have a cat named Squeaky that died, so I had to come up with something.
You were creative and fun. One winter when I was in elementary school, we got hit hard by several snow storms, keeping us inside for days. Stir crazy, you orchestrated ‘summer’ for a day. Blasted the heat, let us put on swimsuits, danced to The Beach Boys, and even had Dad dig out the grill and bbq. The boys and I were in awe and seriously had the best day ever.
Every single birthday was celebrated having a yellow cake with chocolate frosting in the 9 x 13 pan. The cake was from a box mix and the icing from a can. We got to have soda as a special treat. It was usually just the five of us and the ‘Happy Birthday’ banner. Guess what? It was wonderful. We were happy. We were excited. It was perfect.
You allowed us to be kids. We weren’t overscheduled and our activities didn’t take precedence over our family, school, or being a kid. We were only allowed to do two activities at a time. All the time.
You allowed me to be me. You were not making a statement. Or being apologetic. You didn’t use me as a soapbox for your views on femininity, gender, princesses, or superheroes. I wore soccer shoes with my school uniform, dresses, and jeans everyday for almost fifteen years. The photographer at my wedding asked if I was wearing soccer cleats, instead of heels. I am sure you weren’t happy with my Diadoras, but you let me be me. Duly noted.
The phrase, ‘Basic Things’ rattled off your tongue no less than twenty times a day. We loathed you for it, but thank God. We know how to clean up after ourselves, cook, and do laundry. These tasks were expected of us. Doing the ‘Basic Things’ were integral to being a member of our family.
You taught us how to problem solve and think critically. You would mediate, advocate, and help when necessary, but you didn’t fight our battles. We had to figure out a lot on our own, and that’s a good thing. I fell on my face hard numerous times; both literally and figuratively. It helps, because as an adult I have failed more than I have succeeded, but I have the tools to persevere and overcome.
We worked part-time jobs in high school and in college. We are not entitled and do not expect things to be given to us. When they are, we are grateful and thankful. Saying thank you is so simple, yet so vital to being successful in this world. Thank you.
You are very smart. However, you live under a rock when it comes to pop culture, trends, slang, etc. You read Facebook posts aloud to me like it’s late breaking news. And, all the subsequent comments under the original post. On speaker phone, with Dad mimicking you in the background.
Your competitive nature peppered all three of us kids with the will to win. However, I am not being on your team for Trivial Pursuit ever again. I can only apologize so many times.
I was slapped across the face as bratty teen for my smart mouth. However, I deserved every red cheek and embarrassment that went with the slap.
Poop, Shit, F*&k. I have a sailor’s mouth, and it isn’t because of Dad. I knew those three words before 2nd grade like a champ. The trilogy.
You were fine with me getting engaged to a guy I dated for six months, when I picked out my wedding dress in five minutes and when I didn’t have bridesmaids. You did virtually the same thing forty years ago, so you knew it could be done and work out well.
Unapologetic for making yourself or your to-do list a priority. The house needed to be cleaned; who cares if kids are sleeping. Vacuuming at 10: 00 o’clock at night is fine---they’ll sleep through it! You rarely imbibe, but you are fond of Jägermeister. You have ordered a Redheaded Slut as a ‘drink,’ in many upscale dining establishments. Commendable.
Redecorating my Christmas tree. Reorganizing my kitchen. Reorganizing my kids’ drawers. Your ability to organize makes Martha Stewart look like Pigpen. I didn’t even know a label maker had so many capabilities.
Your ability to conjure up facts and figures from over thirty years ago is stunning. You knew my kindergarten pictures were taken on a Tuesday. I was wearing a purple dress with hearts. My hair was styled in two pigtail braids. Frightening.
We don’t have the stereotypical mother-daughter relationship. We don’t shop together, get our nails done, or talk on the phone everyday. It’s ok. Distance has actually strengthened our relationship. Different is good. I don’t love you any less for not calling me every day at 5:00 p.m. I love you more.
You lost your mother a few short months before I was born. We missed out on having a grandmother. You missed out on much more. Know this: She is proud of you. You were and are an amazing mother. You are a superb grandmother. We love you just the way you are. Birthday cakes from Betty Crocker and all.