To My Mother

Science says that the average age you become your mother is 33. I’m serious. Dr. Julian De Silva did a study in the UK, and found that at 33 most women stop fighting it and become their mothers. Over the past few years I’ve recognized this is exactly the path I’m heading down. Heading? More like barreling down. For example- every road trip we ever went on Mom would proclaim “Wow! I wonder what it was like to do this in a covered wagon??!!!” And who says that now? YOURS TRULY. It drives my husband crazy. And I’m grateful, which my 15 year old self would be mortified to hear me say. I know we’ve all fought against our mothers, told them they were mean and the worst moms in the world, but I can tell you right now- my mom had her hands full with me. Like super full in so many ways. I still remember arguing with her about what “a couple” meant in 4th grade. I told her it was 2-3 of something, she stood fast at 2. I really don’t know how she made it out the other end and still likes me. So Mom, thank you.

THANK YOU FOR BEING A MOTHER TO US CRAZY ASS KIDS
I shudder at the idea of having 4 kids 5 and under. I am on the verge of losing my mind by 9am with just my singleton. My mom managed to raise 4 incredibly successful kids with not a lot of help. My dad was awesome, however he was not home much in our younger years since he was a founding member of a startup. If you think my personality is strong you should meet my siblings. Get us all in a room together? Even as adults it can be too much sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, we love each other- it’s just a lot of personality in a small space. Our house had to have been explosive, with no room for her to escape. As a mother now, of a daughter myself, who is dripping with opinions and personality, I have a newfound respect for the absolute zoo my mother must have dealt with on a daily basis. On top of the through the roof energy level, most of us had some serious health issues that we were dealing with, both physical and emotional. She handled it all with such grace and selflessness. Looking back I really don’t know how she did it. From anorexia, to OCD, to rare lung diseases, she was all in and supported us through each stage.

THANK YOU FOR TEACHING ME RESILIENCY
This is a big one. Now when I say that I’m surprised my mother survived my childhood, I’m sure you are all thinking that I was out on the corner selling drugs and skipping class, with 725 different piercings and hot pink hair. Nope. That wasn’t me. I taught Sunday school and was in all of the honors programs. I was active in our youth group and sang in the choir. The issue with me? I was strong willed, which for sure made me a pain in the ass, but I’m thinking that the hardest part for her was that I was far from the cool kid. I’m not saying that because my mom had dreams of having a cheerleader daughter or needed me to be popular. That wasn’t it at all. But it must have hurt her heart to see me struggle daily to be and feel loved by my peers. I was different, but not the kind of different that there was a group for, if that makes sense. I wasn’t that bouncy California blonde and I wasn’t super into Dr Who or dungeons and dragons. I was in the middle. I liked art and music and there wasn’t a huge group of people with the same interests at my small private school, which made me feel like I didn’t have a place in the world. Honestly, Jr. High SUCKED. I don’t know how I got through it. The crazy thing is that until recently I’d always thought about how terrible it was and how it impacted me and me alone. Now that I’m a mom myself, it’s fully hit me that helplessly watching me go through all of that must have broken my mom’s heart. Her beautiful daughter, whom she cherished from the moment she started growing in her womb thinking she was ugly. That she wasn’t worthy. That no one wanted to be her friend. I think back to the time that Chris Anderson wrote “KATRINA SMELLS” in huge letters down the hall of the junior high school. Like HUGE letters that were impossible for the whole school to miss. And they didn’t. 20 years later I can still hear the giggling from people reading it. I ran to the payphone (hey, don’t laugh, I’m old ok?), calling my mom begging her to come get me. Crying that I couldn’t do it anymore and that being surrounded by such mean people was too much. I remember thinking she was the worst EVER when she told me that I needed to “ignore their ugliness and get back to class,” and that other people can’t control how I feel like that and that she loved me. I thought she was so heartless. But now I know that having to say that must have crushed her. It was what was best for me, and what molded me into who I am today. However I now know she must have had her car keys in hand, with the initial instinct of coming to rescue her sweet girl from a bunch of asshole bullies – and then having the realization that this needed to be a learning moment for me. She sent me back into Mr. Levy’s bible class with my eyes half swollen shut from crying. I’d like to say that I learned how to not care about what other people thought at that moment, but it was a journey, and one that she was a big part of throughout the rest of my adolescent life. I’m a girl mom now and I’m already bracing myself for rough years ahead where people can be so mean. Someone actually commented on an instagram photo of me today with some barf face emojis, and I laughed it off. Not everyone needs to like you, and people that pull crap like that aren’t who you want in your circle. Watching me go through my infertility journey and not being able to wave a magic wand to make the pain go away? Now that’s deserving it’s own article. Thank you mom, for teaching me resiliency.

THANK YOU FOR INSTILLING THE KNOWLEDGE THAT I DESERVE IT
I’ve got more balls than most of the people I know, and it’s very hard for me to take no for an answer. These are traits that drove me nuts about my mom growing up, and are traits I inherited and morphed into how I’ve become so successful professionally. “The worst they can do is say no”. “You’ll never know unless you ask”. “What makes you think you don’t deserve it?” These are all things that float around my head on a daily basis, whether I’m trying to further my career, ask for help, or am deciding on if I want to add another thing to my already pretty full plate. Just yesterday I was telling someone at work my plans on how to handle something and they couldn’t believe it I’d have the guts to campaign for myself in such a way. You are your own best advocate.

THANK YOU FOR TEACHING ME TO HANDLE THINGS WITH GRACE
I’m still working on this one. I’m a lot more emotional than my mom, and it’s hard to tell that part of myself to simmer down sometimes. But thanks to her I fully recognize it’s importance. Don’t allow people to have the power over you to make you angry. You are in charge of that yourself. Even if you have a right to get angry about it, or sad, don’t let them win that piece of you. You owe that to yourself.

THANK YOU FOR TEACHING ME LEARNING DOESN’T END WITH SCHOOL
My mom always wants to soak in every bit of knowledge and I find myself doing the same thing. My obsession of factoids is thanks to her, and her fervor for learning. Just yesterday on the way to my daughter’s dance recital she was telling her all about the wonders of chlorophyll and how it makes plants green. Her desire to learn more about everything is a reminder that there is oh so much out there to learn more about and be amazed by on a daily basis. Learning is fun, especially if it’s about things you have a passion for.

THANK YOU FOR BEING AN AMAZING NANA
I’ve given myself 3 weeks to write and proof this, and every time my own child, or work, or the demands of running a household has tried to interrupt me and often times succeeded. So please know that any spelling errors, changes in tense or different sized paragraphs are due to my working on this special mother’s day gift to you while I’m in the thickness of being a mother myself. It’s a lot. A LOT. And I appreciate you so much more now that I’m experiencing it firsthand. Your face lights up with you see Thea, and hers does the same when she sees you. The bond the two of you have is more special than I could have ever imagined or hoped for. Thank you for loving her so very much. For being there for her (and me) whenever we need you, and for the fantastic Nana that you are. It’s opened a whole other side of you that it warms my heart to see, and for that I’m so very grateful.

It’s time for me to sign off, because as I was finalizing this, your granddaughter took all the couch cushions out onto the lawn and then tipped over her little tikes truck while she was in it and is screaming for me. Because moms never get a day off, even on Mother’s Day (as I’m sure you know more than even I do). Love you Mom.

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