Today is one of those days. The days where I sit and wonder if I’m doing a good enough job. If my mom ever made the same mistakes I do. Today is one of the days where I’d sell my kidney to see her again.
My mom died of colon cancer when I was 10 years old. I may remember her through rose-colored glasses, but to me, she was the most perfect woman who ever lived. I strive to be the kind of mother she was: infinitely loving, overflowing with compassion, utterly selfless, and willing to the lay down the law when I needed a reminder that she was the boss. There are times when I wish I could call her up, like other moms I know, and ask her what she did when I (insert behavior here: flushed a valuable item down the toilet, colored all over the walls, mouthed off at her, stole a dime from her purse to buy a gum ball even after she said no). Actually, I remember what she did when I colored all over the wall: she made me wash it off with a sponge and water. No soap, no cleaner. It took forever, given that we couldn’t leave to go to Grandma’s house until it was done. And you know what? I never colored on the wall again.
I remember the dime incident, too. I was older then, probably around 8. She was so very disappointed in me. I don’t remember the actual punishment, just the look on her face when she realized what I had done. I never stole from her again, either.
If I could share her story in a way that she was worthy of, I’d shout it from the roof tops. Hold a world-wide conference to tell of her cookie baking, hugging, laughing, singing, letting me use her clothes for dress up, encouraging, fearless ways. I can’t imagine what it would be like to know that you won’t get to see your child grow up. But I never knew she was afraid. God, I hope she knew how much I love her. When you’re a child, you don’t really understand what your dying parent is going through. So yes, in my little blog that maybe 2 or 3 people read, I’m going to pay tribute to the greatest woman who ever lived.
She was beautiful, smart, kind, and humble. She had the voice of an angel. I realize she couldn’t possibly have been perfect, but to me, she may as well have been. She was my whole world, and is, without question, my inspiration for raising my girls. I want them to know the same things I knew: there is nothing they could ever do to change how much I love them. They can talk to me about anything, ever. No matter how awkward or scary. When they make a mistake, I will correct them, and I will love them. I will support them if there are consequences to face. I will expect them to do what’s right, just because it’s right. I will expect them to treat everybody equally, to reach out to those who have been hurt or rejected. I will laugh with them, cry with them, let them sleep in my bed when they have a bad dream, make hot chocolate on cold nights, plan Mommy-daughter dates just because I can’t get enough of them. I will always forgive them. I will be brave for them. I will be their champion. I will hold them responsible for their actions. I will celebrate their victories. I will make mistakes, and I will not be afraid to admit them.
I want my daughters to view me the way I view my mom. I love her, and miss her, so much it hurts. I have yet to make it through a Christmas season or Mother’s Day without crying, at least a little. But I think that’s a good thing. She inspires me to be greater. To carry on the tree-trimming tradition, with Christmas carols playing and hot chocolate steaming. She inspires me to watch my temper, to do puzzles even when I’d rather be sitting on the couch drinking my 18th cup of coffee. She inspires me to love, as an action, not just a feeling.
So here’s to you, Mom. You are greater than you could have ever known. You were the best mom on the planet, and I love you more than words can say. You are my inspiration.