Today my wonderful mom celebrates her birthday. Well actually, we celebrate because we are fortunate enough to have her and she is such a huge part of our lives. I am sure everyone believes that there mom is the best, but you would have to fight three kids and four grandkids to take that award away from our mom. My youngest daughter often tells me that her life is good but it would be even better if I was the grandma and grandma was her mom. I don’t doubt it, however I can’t wait until she is a mom someday and appreciates me.
I always loved my mom, but I never realized how much until I had children. It was then I realized how strong she was to have raised three kids like us and have survived and not lost her sanity. How much she sacrificed to always make sure we had what we needed and that we had a good, happy childhood. Now I realized this is starting to get a little sappy so I will interject with some of my fond memories of mom and how to this day they make me laugh.
My mom wanted us to be aware of dangers and knew that avoiding it would not do any good, so she put it right in our faces. I remember she would talk about the dangers of drugs, but then she would go to the extent of cutting out articles where kids had overdosed and read them to us and say, “This is what happens when you smoke the pot.” I was scared to death of drugs and the people that did them and I avoided them throughout my childhood and teen years. At some point I was sure that if I got to know them they would trick me with ‘the pot’ and I would wind up drugged and dead.
When HIV and AIDS became really publicized I was in high school. Again, my mom would have us watch TV specials about people that had gotten the disease and were in hospital beds dying and there last breath was about safe sex. Oh my peaches – talking about scaring the hormones out of you. I was sure kissing led to sex and that sex led to death. Of course if I had had the Internet back then I could have googled stats and been a little more keen on the details, but my mom’s scare tactics worked like a charm. Sex = Death! Picture genitals with a skull and crossbones tattooed upon them, because that’s how I envisioned them.
Years later when I got older and wiser and was married with two kids of my own, I thought why didn’t she just show me a picture of a frazzled mom with two babies? A few years ago on Mother’s Day I realized I had been so busy with work and the kids I had not yet bought my mom a card. So I am at the grocery store with a 3 ½ year old and an 18 month old and I think I will keep them happy and occupied by getting them each a slushy so I can shop in peace. I finally get to the card section and I am trying to read the cards so I can tell my mom what she really means to me. Somehow the slushes got switched and my oldest starts to argue with her sister about whose slush is whose. I try to interject some common sense and just hand them each a slush and tell them to stop. I turn back to the cards to continue and I see a whiz go by me and I feel wet. When everything stops I see my youngest, always wanting to have the last word, has thrown her slush at her sister and as it hit her in the face it exploded everywhere. So my oldest is sobbing and holding her face, I am looking at the mess and trying to figure out who to tell and what to do first and my youngest is sobbing because she knows she is gonna get it! As I am trying to clean up with the couple of tissues I have in my purse an older woman walks up to me and pats my shoulder and smiles as she says, “Happy Mother’s Day”. I didn’t buy my mom a card that year, I went home and made one with the story of the grocery store event. Show me the Hallmark card that can top that!
To my mom, for giving us our biggest fears, keeping us alive and being twice the woman I ever will be. Happy birthday, I love you!