My 20th blog post focused on my father. In it, I described one of my first memories of he and I as follows…. My earliest memory of my father is from when I was just a little over two years old. He took me out for the day, probably because, as an early talker, I was wearing my mother out. In July of this year, I will have been wearing my mother out for forty years! I started talking at 10 months old. By 18 months, I was singing full length songs to my mother. (None who know me are surprised by this revelation!) While I am no longer in the habit of belting out a show tune for her questionable enjoyment, I will admit that I have not stopped talking, and talking and talking. And yet, she always has time for me and never once, in forty years has she been too worn out to listen.
When I was a little girl, my mother was my playmate. (My two brothers were often not; I mean, how exactly do you play DINOSAUR?) She played Barbie, she played Strawberry Shortcake, and she played Care Bears (once! I did not really understand how to play with bears. I mean, bears can’t talk…but I digress!) When I was in the hospital at age six, she promised me an almost impossible to find Cabbage Patch Kid and she did indeed find it. (How we could have afforded it, I still wonder.) She was more wonderful than any fairy godmother because she made my little girl dreams come true; sometimes using nothing more than her imagination and whatever was handy in the craft drawer. She was a wonderful best friend!
High school arrived, and the road, although still strong and sturdy, had a few bumps every now and then. We did not see eye to eye on a great many things; how long I should talk on the phone each night, how much lipstick I needed to wear to school, whether Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” was an appropriate movie to see (She voted no and she won!) whether or not prom dresses should be peach and fluffy ( I voted no. I .and won!), but we were still close. She was my strongest supporter; smiling proudly at every production I was in, even if I only had two lines, bringing her friends to see me, putting daily notes of support in my suitcase when I went away to a two week summer program. She was again, my best friend, my confidant, and she listened tirelessly and ceaselessly to the whirlwind of my high school life.
As I got older, finished college and began my teaching career and she became principal of a high school in Montclair, we did not, as life got more hectic, grow a little bit apart, but instead became even closer. Her advice was the first I sought, before my friends, even before my father’s. Hers was the shoulder I went to cry on or the first phone call I made when something wonderful happened. It is hard, even now as I write this to fully capture in words all that my mother has brought to my life and all she continues to bring to my life every day. I know for a fact, I would not be sitting in this office at Saint Dominic Academy if it were not for her constant guidance, influence and support. I consider myself a strong, empowered and independent woman and I think most who know me would agree. However, I also know that I would be lost without the daily grace and love that my mother brings to my life.
Mothers who are reading this, I would imagine that many of you feel the same way about your own mothers. Daughters of SDA, young ladies in grades 7-12 who argue daily with your moms about some of the same petty topics I argued with my mother about, trust me when I say, your mother is your first line of defense, your biggest cheerleader, and the woman who will shape the way you mother your own child one day in the future. Even when you fight with your mothers, (and, of course you will) and even when they fight back (and of course…they will!), there are no words strong enough to capture the love your mother carries within her heart for you. It is all encompassing, it is infinite and it is yours whenever you need it most. I know that, as a mother, because I learned it from my mother.
Motherhood is a thankless job at times, but it is also the best job in the world. I know my mother will read this blog and before she tells me whether she likes it, she will fuss at the fact that I used her picture or that I went overboard with sentiment. She is a private person, one who gives of her heart daily without expecting to be thanked. All mothers do this and on this Monday leading into Mother’s Day on May 14th, it is time all daughters took the time, not just to send a card or wrap a gift, but to look our mothers in the eye and say thank you for all they do for us and for how much they love us.
Even then, it is not enough, but daughters, it is the best we can do. And so, to my own mother, a very public thank you: Mom, if I can be half as good a mother to Abigail as you are to me, then I will be a great mother. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being my first and best friend. I love you!
And to all of our SDA mothers, who wipe away tears after a heartbreak and who listen to the stories of teenage drama, and who find that extra fund to make her little girl’s dress or shoe or whatever dreams come true, I thank you. Thank you for raising such beautiful young women, each day they walk the halls of SDA they are a testament to how wonderful each of you are. And I wish you the happiest of Mother’s Days because now, as a mother myself, I truly understand how much you deserve it!