Yesterday I woke up and it was Mother’s Day. I still haven’t reached a point where I feel like I belong in this group of celebrated women – I suppose I feel like I have a few more stripes to earn or something, which is ridiculous because I did give birth. Charlotte has been such a joy, such a gift every single minute that, as corny as this sounds, it could be Mother’s Day every day. And I know that’s annoying to hear, but not everything in my life is perfect. She just happens to be.
And she makes me want to be better…at everything. I want to be the best mom for her. (Really, who doesn’t want to be the best parent for their child?) I know there are things I can work on about myself, and having her here watching me just might make me actually try.
Just about everything a woman know about being a mother comes from her own mom. This doesn’t mean we necessarily parent in exactly the same way – certain things we might adapt in some way, while we might do other things altogether differently. And then there are those things we do just like our mothers did (whether we like it or not).
I can say with certainty that every good thing I do at this point as a mother I learned from my mom. One of my hidden talents (okay, my only hidden talent), is that I have a ton of very early memories. I can remember what I was wearing on certain days when I was 2.5. (purply blue corduroys and a white turtleneck with tiny little blue flower buds all over it, visiting my brother at the hospital) And no, I did not look at a picture and think I remembered this. I remember it.
Anyway, the point is, I have lots of early memories of my mom, and they are all so wonderful. Here are a few of my favorites, complete with titles:
1. My mom is devoted.
Mom used to rock me in the alcove outside my little upstairs bedroom and read to me all the time. All the time. I had the Mother Goose nursery rhyme book memorized by the time I was two, as well as countless other stories. When it was time for me to read my first chapter book in first grade, Mom took me to the library and helped me pick out B is for Betsy because that was the first chapter book she read as a little girl. Without a doubt, my mom is the reason I love books so much. She read to me, she encouraged me, and she taught me. And then I turned out to be a writing major and an English teacher. Thanks, Mom.
2. My mom is fun.
Mom used to do this thing when Amanda would sleep over that we would beg for: Monster Dog. We’d huddle under the covers in my room and wait for Monster Dog to show up down the hall. Then we’d scream and laugh and Monster Dog would come running and snorting through the door to get us. Monster Dog was basically a decrepit, hobbling dog that was born from the goofy imagination of Meg Bremer. What? Doesn’t everyone’s mom make up a deranged animalistic character that is both terrifying and hilarious?
3. My mom is pretty, and she smells good.
This memory isn’t anything but sweet to me. My parents were about to go out for the night and leave John and I with a babysitter. I was sitting on the counter in our old kitchen (pre-1988 addition, and I think I was about three), and Mom was standing in front of me all dressed up. She had earrings on and her hair was done a little differently. I thought she looked like the prettiest woman in the world. Then she hugged me, and she smelled so good. I loved her.
4. My mom always made me feel cherished.
Mom used to have a floral nightgown that was covered in mostly red viney flowers. There was some blue in it and little green leaves here and there. It was part of our routine at night to look for the “little bit of green” in her nightgown. Thinking about it, this probably wasn’t something we did every night since she wouldn’t wear the same thing to bed all year, but it must have been something special we did when she wore it. I loved this simple game. It was never hard finding the little bit of green (I mean, come on), but I loved the time with her. And I remember how sweet she was about it. She never seemed annoyed or like she just wanted me to go to sleep. As I child, I truly felt like I was enjoyed by my mom. Actually, I’ve always felt that way, even as a teenager. Even as a seventh grader.
(I have many more of these sweet little memories, but I’d better stop before I turn into a sappy pile of tears.)
Mom, Thank you for all the love you’ve given me, and for teaching me what it means to Mother. (Charlotte thanks you, too.) I love you.
And Charlotte, Thank you for giving me the gift of Motherhood. I treasure you with all my heart. You make me happy every day.