My mother was an interesting person, and that's putting it mildly. Complex, funny, simple, wise, foolish, intense, giving, needful, controlling, and whatever the opposite of "controlling" would be....those are all words that come to mind when I think about her. Having a child-mother raise me has complicated my own mothering; everything I say and do and think as a mother has to be sifted and sorted to weed out anything unhealthy that might stem from hurts or bad example or.....
However, I don't want to focus on those things tonight, on Mother's Day Eve. (Hey! Did I just create a new holiday for mothers around the world? If we were smart we could really stretch this holiday out! Ladies, we'll have to work on that one. We have Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and now, Ta Da! Mother's Day Eve. Hmmmm...)
Anyway, I digress. There were many things my mom did right. One year for Mother's Day I made a list of everything I could possibly think of that I loved or appreciated about her. I cut the list up into tiny strips and rolled each thing up into a tiny "scroll". I then stuffed a quart size canning jar with those little scrolls and told my mom they were her "One-A-Days". She could only read one a day for however long they lasted.
Just in case you're wondering, I thought I'd share some of those things with you.
-She always told me, "Say yes to your kids whenever you can. Life is long and hard and will be full of "no's". Give them yeses every chance you get."
-She was a great cook! I've posted her spaghetti sauce recipe, but she also made the best chocolate chip cookies and bread I've ever had.
-She was adventurous. Always willing to try something new, or go somewhere new or even discuss something she knew nothing about just so she could learn something new.
-She set me free to try my wings. She encouraged me to "go for it" and not be afraid of trying new things. She encouraged me to make life rich with experiences and memories.
-She didn't try to pit me against my dad or be bitter toward him after my parents divorced.
-She never let go of her dreams. I think it took her 3 tries before she was able to pass the test that would give her a Real Estate License. She just kept plugging away at it until she did it.
-She taught me to slow down and appreciate the beauty of the mountains, a sunset, a bug on a leaf, or the way trees grew twisted and curled by the constant mountain winds.
-She was spontaneous and always up for a walk, a ride, or a Hot-Fudge Sundae at McDonald's.
-She was willing to love and accept everyone she met, no matter what they believed or what their lifestyle was.
-She taught me to appreciate and love music.
-She could make anyplace feel like home.
-She was an optimist.
-She was willing to laugh at herself and not take life so seriously.
-She had a never ending sense of humor and laughed often.
-She continually tried to learn new things.
-On my 16th birthday she took me to get my driver's license, then handed me her check book and a credit card. She showed me what they were for and how to use them and never looked back. In other words, she treated me like a responsible young adult and expected me to live up to her expectations. She trusted me.
Like I said, my mother was complex, hard to understand, and sometimes hard to live with. I do wish I could sit with her tonight and hug her. I would like to thank her once again for doing her best. In many ways she was more a friend than a parent, but I did learn a lot from that "friendship" and I'm thankful for it.