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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A letter to my Mom:

I have been reflecting on what motherhood means.  It isn’t something I really gave much thought before I had my daughter. I never had to worry about you abandoning me, wondering where my meals were, not worrying about whether you would show up to pick me up from school, or even not being there when I called.  Instead of realizing what you did and what sacrifices you made, I took it for granted and almost expected it.  Not everyone is cut out to be a mom, but you were.  It is, by far, one the hardest jobs you will ever do.   The ease and grace in which you fulfilled your job, made it almost seem effortless to us as children.  Now being a mom myself, I can appreciate how much work and sacrifices it truly takes.  Everyone has a choice on what kind of mom they want to be, I want to be the kind of mom you were to us.  You have been my shoulder to cry on, my therapist, my friend, my boundary setter, my teacher and most of all my MOM!

You always wanted the best for me, so you made sure I was able to try many different things.  Soccer, T-ball, Dance, Piano, and so on, you were there to cheer me on.  Sleeping in the car or running errands while I was in my lessons, just to make sure I had the time I needed.  Never a complaint, just a bag of M&M’s and some fast food were all you needed. THANK YOU!!

Whenever life was tough, you were always there to listen.  You always tried to offer advice to my unwilling ears.  You would spend time reading about issues, in order to help come up with alternatives and solutions.  All those articles you cut out of magazines, self help books you would read, and time analyzing our problems, showed me you cared.  I can always remember you saying that you hated to see me hurt and wanted to protect me.  (I will never admit this again, but I read and used those articles.)  THANK YOU!
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The stories you shared about when you were young, demonstrated the necessary skills I need to be successful in life.  Your strength and drive helped you change your situation, and you handed it down to me.  You were a role model, teaching me to not give up and taking charge of my own destiny.  Your career as a teacher taught me so many things, that you probably didn’t realize.  I have always been proud to tell people, my mom is a teacher.  The dedication to your job was an example in the value of hard work and having pride in your job.  I am sure that you could have done so many other jobs, but you chose to do what you loved.  You were a great teacher and it shows in us.  Neither one of your children are substance abusers, physically abused or abusive.  We all finished our college education, have loving families, have wonderful children, and do whatever it takes for our families.  Some lessons you taught me knowingly and others through example.  THANK YOU!

One of your most thankless jobs, was preparing meals for the family.  I never appreciated the value of sitting down to a lovingly prepared meal.  At mealtime, when all of us sat around the table and talked, are some of my precious memories.  I can’t say that I ever thanked you for those meals.  To this day, when I sit down to one of your meals, I get a warm feeling of love.  THANK YOU!

Providing healthy choices, was important to you. Growing up, I hated it.  No Cocoa Puffs, Potato Chips, Ding Dongs, or even Kool Aid. Now, I am benefiting from having learned to eat healthy from the start.  Vegetables are a staple in my kitchen, can’t say I was thankful when they were on the family table.  You introduced me to so many great foods, most kids wouldn’t even touch – Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Artichokes, and even Fried Okra.  Your family’s health was very important and I have learned from your example.  THANK YOU!

No matter what was going on in your life, I always knew I could talk to you.  No matter how tired you were at the end of the day, you always made time to talk to me about my day. (Even in the bathroom.)  You would listen patiently and ask questions to show your interest in me.  I still love the times we are able to sit down and share. Knowing you were there, helped me to handle many difficulties in life.  Providing advice and playing the devil’s advocate were your ways of showing love, by not letting us go blindly into anything.  Many of those HELFPUL comments, used to drive me crazy.  I now understand and appreciate the value in these words, “this to shall pass.”  Or “that which doesn’t kill us, will make us stronger,” and one of my all time favorites, “it is character building.”  THANK YOU!

You have always been there to protect me.  I always knew that if someone ever threatened me, you would do whatever it took to protect me.  This trust in a mother is hard won and truly special.  Unfortunately, it is never appreciated when you are young.  All the times you used to say, “Call me if you are going to be late.”  The constant grilling about my plans, and always knowing you were there waiting for me when I got home, were secretly appreciated.  Having someone who cares where you are, what you are doing, and waits for you to come home is undervalued until you live alone.  Especially those times when I didn’t want to hear it, but you tried to help me see relationships that were damaging to me.  You gave me the respect for myself, which enables me to make the right choices. THANK YOU! 

Conversations about my daughter, where we either share in her latest accomplishment, laugh at her latest antics, or vent about her latest temper tantrum, are precious to me.  Some days being a mom is very difficult and I can now understand what you went through. Giving me a safe place to vent is a gift.  Being able to hear the excitement and pride, when you talk about your granddaughter is something I cherish.  I feel that she is my gift to you, for raising me.  THANK YOU!!!!

You have taught me the enjoyment of the simple things – knitting, reading a good book, staying in your pajamas all day, etc.   The time you let me spend learning to do crafts with the “Craft Lady”, were amazing. Those times I spent at the craft store have enabled me to stay in touch with my creativity.  THANK YOU!

Another lesson, importance of time spent with family.  You were always there snow skiing, bike riding, hiking etc – even if you didn’t enjoy it.  The bravery and courage you showed us by trying and joining in, set the example.  You sacrificed for us, so that we could all be together.  I knew the fear you had, but you managed to face the fear and do it anyway.  THANK YOU!!!!

Shopping, shopping, shopping……. Finding the best deals and the best places to shop is a must for every mother to teach their daughter.  I also recognize all the sacrifices you made in order for me to have cute clothes.  Money was tight, but you always bought what we needed at the sacrifice of your wants.  I never went without, and I had some cute outfits to boot.  My amazing white prom dress that was way beyond our budget, but you wanted me to have it.  That prom was a dream come true and you helped me get it.  The time we spend together shopping are some of my favorites too.  The way you think about your granddaughter and what she needs is like a window into your heart.  I can see the love you have for us during these times.  THANK YOU!

Your love always shines when you plan special occasions.  Seeing how important it is to you that everyone has a good time, is admirable.  The time together during these occasions, has become more of a focus for me with my family.  THANK YOU!

I am very lucky to have been raised by such a role model.  Your love, compassion, undying love and devotion to your family, are what I want to show to my family.
You have always been appreciated and loved, even when I didn’t show it. 
I saw this poem on the net and knew I had to send it to you…….

Everything Mom
How did you find the energy, Mom
To do all the things you did,
To be teacher, nurse and counselor
To me, when I was a kid.
How did you do it all, Mom,
Be a chauffeur, cook and friend,
Yet find time to be a playmate,
I just can’t comprehend.
I see now it was love, Mom
That made you come whenever I'd call,
Your inexhaustible love, Mom
And I thank you for it all.

I love you!  Thank you for being my “Everything” Mom!

By Shannon Henrici – a writer for an online baby clothes boutique.  As a mom, I buy “My Baby” clothes from My Baby Clothes Boutique.  They have the best selection of baby headbands, baby hats, and so much more.

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