I used to say that my mom knew everything but dinosaurs.
I get that I was wrong, but in some ways, I was also right.
My mom is one of the most courageous woman I have ever met. Or probably ever will meet.
A lot of people would say beautiful, and my mom is beautiful, but she’s also beautiful because of her courage.
What I’m learning as a teacher and as a human being, a lot of great parents are that much greater because they didn’t exactly have a fluffy upbringing. My mom is no exception, but it’s not my place to discuss any of that.
But all that she has been through and all the choices that she has made, makes her incredible. There really are no words for that.
She was a teen bride and mom (yes in that order), and because it was what you did back then, she didn’t finish school. By the time she was the age that I am now, she had two kids and had gotten divorced. That’s a lot to handle at 25, and I struggle with balancing my work and home life WITHOUT the kids factor.
She married my dad and they built their lives up together. I, of course, am grateful when they had me. Five and a half years later, they had the baby, and ensured that she would be the last. There were sixteen years between the oldest of us and the youngest.
Five kids. Three teenagers with a 5 year old and a newborn.
Just picture that for a minute. I mean we are all pretty cute but you can only be so cute when you’re a teenager and an older toddler and a newborn.
It was around that time that my dad started traveling more with work. They made it work and he was an incredible dad. But my mom was home a lot with us.
Despite the fact that she had a baby at home, my mom never missed an awards ceremony. She was my taxi when I started doing activities outside of school.
When my brother and I would get home (different times since we’re 7.5 years apart), we would sit and have conversations about our days. She taught me to be in the practice of doing my homework immediately when I got home. I would sit and talk to her while I did my homework and she cooked dinner.
Those moments are still some of the most important ones of my life.
When I started playing soccer and came home in the dark after practice, my dinner plate was always made and in the microwave or in the oven, waiting for me. She never missed a game, even though there were days that it felt like 100 degrees.
At the end of summer when my siblings and I would screw up our sleep schedule, she would force us into bed the last week at a reasonable time just to make sure that we would be able to get up in time by the first day.
Every night before a big test, first day of the school year, or any recital, she and my dad would tuck me in.
In middle school, when my friends lived in “BF Egypt” as she called it, she still went and picked them up for the movies and such.
When I started high school and I never was home because of extracurriculars and my part time job (which felt like full time then), it never failed that dinner was waiting for me. She would come talk to me as I got my dinner and homework out, and then leave me to work for the next few hours.
When my dad traveled, there would be nights (almost always a Thursday) where she would take my sister and I to Barnes and Noble. We would be allowed to pick two books to read and we would eat dinner at Starbucks.
I remember this particular summer, my mom picked up the supposed reading list for an average ninth grader. My mom made me read Animal Farm and The Lord of the Flies and discuss it with her.
School was incredibly important to her and the day that I graduated high school, I don’t think I ever saw her happier. I could tell that her heart was swelling with pride.
The morning I left for college was rainy because a tropical storm was hitting my hometown. She couldn’t come with my dad and I, so I had the pleasure of saying goodbye to her at home. I say pleasure sarcastically, because if you’ve ever moved away from your mom, you know it’s one of the hardest moments of your life. She knew I was doing the right thing going to my dream school even though it was 5 hours away, but it hurt her more than it could ever hurt me. I cried for two hours straight after saying goodbye.
When I would come home and just not want to leave, she would gently remind me of my dreams.
The day I graduated college, she rejoiced with me as I walked across that stage.
Every major moment I’ve ever had, I’ve shared with my mom. I share it all with her because so much of who I am comes from her. I’m a spitting image of my dad and I have a LOT of his personality traits, but every thing that makes me a woman comes from her.
My mom is something that I can only wish to be later on. She is self-educated, honest to a fault, fiercely loyal of her children, and resilient. She is a warrior and you only have to spend a few minutes with her to know that. She not so silently guides her children in the right direction, no matter how much we fight her.
Most of you don’t know my mom, and that’s okay. I just wanted to put my memories of her here. Honoring her with words.
This year she becomes a first time grandmother to a baby girl. Actually in a few weeks. My niece is the luckiest little girl in the world and she doesn’t know it yet. But she will. She will see and with any luck, that warrior spirit will be in her too. The world needs more warrior women like my mom.
Mama, I love you.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there, but especially my mama!