This weekend is Mother’s Day. It’s the ninth one that I have celebrated motherless. My first Mother’s Day without my Mom, I was a wreck. I was in a Hallmark story buying cards for both my mother-in-laws when the sales person asked if I was picking out a card for my Mom. I replied curtly, “My Mother is dead.” I am not sure who was shocked more because saying it out loud was still kind of foreign to me. I could not hold it together long enough to get out of the mall without bursting in to tears. Nine years later, Mother’s Day still leaves me with void that only a Mom can fill.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a home with two loving parents. I was the last of five and it was my Mom’s second marriage. She and my Dad were married five years before I came along. In between that time, she miscarried a baby boy. I was planned for and wanted. I always felt loved.
Dad was in the US Army and sometimes he was deployed elsewhere in the world. My one, true constant was my Mother. She was there through everything good or bad; glorious or tragic. Alone, she kept our family together while my Dad was deployed twice to Vietnam, once to Thailand and once to Korea.
Although I put my father on a pedestal like many daughters do, it was my Mother who was my rock. It was my Mother who provided me with the foundation for my faith. The one who practiced, as well as she could, what she preached. The one who cherished all of her children because she knew they were a gift from God. The one who always had a smile on her face for me and open arms when I needed a hug.
Don’t get me wrong: my relationship with my Mom was far from perfect. At times, she drove me nuts and we would argue. Constantly reminding me to buckle my seat belt when I was a teenager (smart move). Waiting up until I came home. Draping me in everything pastel or ruffles. There were discussions during wedding dress shopping (she caved), about my children’s names (we kept them) and that noise she used to make when cheering at high school football games. It’s a good thing my Mom was so well read because she knew that tribal women in other countries made this noise, but it was still embarrassing. Thank God I was huddled up with the band during high school football games. My Dad should get a medal for having to endure those embarrassing moments.
As a woman who had a high school education, Mom was extremely proud of me when I earned my college and graduate degrees. But she was also just as proud when I gave birth to two beautiful children. She always told me I could be anything I wanted. She believed in me so I could believe in myself. She instilled this message in me so I could pass it along to my kids.
Please hug your Mom one more time and tell her you love her for me and the children like me who no longer can say it to their Moms.