I remember being kid and sitting on my ass on the couch with my siblings. We were watching TV while our mom cooked us breakfast. We would start bickering and saying dumb things like “Mom! She’s looking at me!”
“Mom! He’s sitting in my spot on the couch!”
My mother would storm in the room to break it up and say things like “Thanks! Happy Mother’s Day!” Then we would laugh at her and get along again because we became connected in making fun of her.
We didn’t get it.
We didn’t know.
No matter how many times she would say it.
We didn’t grasp what it is involved in being a mother or what this day meant.
I cringe now at my ignorance and selfishness.
Thankfully this memory helps me in not expecting my kids to get it either.
I think it’s our job and the FATHER’s job to also teach the children what being a mother means and what we want/need…ahead of time. All year long!
Mom’s all truly want peace.
Mom’s all truly want appreciation.
Mom’s want acknowledgement.
Mom’s want gratitude.
Mom’s want empathy.
Mom’s want to be left alone at times, without guilt. So we can re-group and be a better mom…because we have the space to take care of ourselves…our mental health…our bodies.
Not only on Mother’s Day, but everyday.
I learn this a little more each year.
Unfortunately, I empathize with my mother each year and attempt to forgive myself for how I treated my her.It took me 44 years but I believe I truly get it now. I know she would love for me to say all the words of wisdom she taught me.
However, she did something better than words; SHE LEAD BY EXAMPLE.
She always pointed out the light in the darkness.
She didn’t say “class never goes out of style” and “you are what you surround yourself with”…she showed us.
As much as I am sure she wanted to let us watch TV all day and leave her alone; she only allowed us to watch Channel 11 and PG rated movies. I loved Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street even as a teenager 🙈. I learned to read before kindergarten because she read to me and by watching Sesame Street.
She made us watch old movies no matter how much we argued and debated. We fought hard to watch the latest movies. Now all of us appreciate Hollywood, taste and class; instead of the latest trend.
She didn’t tell me not care what people thought, she lived it. (Example: she dressed the part for everything! She wore a little leprechaun outfit with pointy elf shoes at the parish St. Patrick’s party.)
She didn’t tell me to allow my faith to guide me; she practiced this literally everyday. (Example: When I was a teenager, I was A BEAST! I always had to have the last word, I hit below the belt with my mouth.)
When I was on her last thread of patience…she would leave and walk to Mary’s grotto and pray. (She didn’t drive either).
She always went to church. Prayer was her white claws;). She didn’t drink alcohol, smoke or have any vices, still doesn’t. She volunteered her time despite having 5 kids; one with special needs.
She didn’t tell me to take pride in my work, to always make people feel special and important; to do the best job possible no matter how small. (My mom was a cashier at neighborhood store and took pride in selling cigarettes, lottery tickets and over-counter stuff. She took the time to smile, remember everyone’s name, and make them feel important.) Honestly, no one has ever forgotten my mom and how she made them feel. People from my neighborhood ask me immediately how my mom is doing like I’m chopped liver. (My mom loves hearing this.)
She didn’t tell me to have gratitude, write in a gratitude journal or to appreciate every day as a gift. She lived it everyday by saying small things like “today is the last day you are eleven” or “today is the last day of your thirties “😂 or “be happy to be alive”. She has taken the train and bus to concerts or activities even alone because she appreciates every event, every effort, every thought. She never wants to miss a moment. She loves life.
She didn’t tell me to see the good in everyone and not to judge. She showed this by how she treated all of us, our friends and especially my brothers friends who practically lived at our house. No matter how much trouble they caused her, how rude they may have been, how late they stayed, how loud they were or legal stuff they got into; my mom was someone they all came to for help. She welcomed them with open arms and only saw the good in them. She truly saved a lot of souls. She knows all of their names and their story.
She didn’t tell me to SHOW UP and stick with your word and your commitment; she was the queen of this. She didn’t tell me to “put some lipstick on, drink some coffee, listen to some gangsta rap and handle it” she actually did.it.every.time.
She does love coffee and strongly encourages anyone to drink it. She doesn’t like gangsta rap, however her appreciation of music and The Beatles worked for her every time. This made me also love music; real music. I was always amazed at what my mom would be dealing with, how much she would be crying, how angry she would be but still always show up to something in public. She would put on some lipstick and mascara; put a smile on her face and show up to whatever she committed to…no matter what chaos or tragedies were happening behind closed doors.
She didn’t tell me why fit in when I was born stand out. She took all of her school volunteer jobs seriously. Example-she volunteered to be “picture lady” once a month and taught a class about a work of art. Everyone else’s mom wore whatever, honestly I can’t even remember who’s mom was picture lady now. My mom “became the painting!” She dressed up as each painting! She wore a raincoat and galoshes to match a fisherman painting. She wore a bonnet, blue coat and brought my little sister to become “Mother and Daughter” by Claude Monet.
As much as I was embarrassed, I learned so much about art from her. I now have a deep appreciation for art, music, words and life. I’m glad she stood out and now it’s a beautiful memory. She knew my teen brain judging her would pass. Now I think it’s awesome what she did.
She didn’t tell me to laugh at myself, she did all the time.
She didn’t tell me not to give up; she never did…EVER. Still hasn’t. No matter how many times her heart was broken.
I also learn everyday from my moms personal struggles. Watching her selflessness and also mistakes taught me that:
•You have to take care of yourself first no matter what
•No one is coming to save you
•If you want something, you need to work for it everyday
•Marriage is no guarantee and as much as you want to stab him, it’s better to stay married and forgive to keep everyone on the same page. However, if you are the only one fighting…and have no choice but to do it alone…you WILL SURVIVE.
•Marriage is a commitment and you honor your word.
•Inconsistent discipline is no joke.
•Compromise and picking your battles is grounds for survival
Motherhood never ends.
The learning never stops…
As I watch her enjoying her latest grandkids; I am starting to understand how the heart continues to grow three sizes with each addition to her tribe.
Her LEGACY continues to grow and I hope she realizes this now. She is appreciated, adored, loved and cherished. If she doesn’t feel that way, that’s up to her to believe it 😜
2 thoughts on “Ode To My Mother”
Beautiful words Kelly. This is the ultimate mother’s day gift to her 🙂
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