Today is Mother’s Day, and all around the world many people are celebrating it in some fashion either with their mothers, thinking about their mothers, or in memory of their mothers. I saw my mother Friday, since we knew Sunday would be a mess trying to go somewhere, and even then there were more people out than we’re used to. She also loved what I brought to her.
The truth is as I get older, I realize that there’s no way I can appreciate my mother as much as I should. She’s not quite the same woman I grew up with, and I don’t mean how our relationship has changed, although it has.
My mother didn’t have much of a sense of humor when I was growing up. Sure, she liked a few shows on TV, but she never said anything funny and didn’t laugh very much otherwise.
My not being the typical kid had to be interesting in its own way as well. I didn’t get into trouble, and I didn’t do bad things. I wasn’t perfect by any means, taking some chances with my life that have made me, as an adult, extra cautious. But parents always told my mother how nice I was; teachers always told her how smart I was, and I tried to live up to that as much as possible. The worst thing my mother ever found to say to me was “your room is a pig sty”; are there mothers still using this phrase?
What I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that my mother has always had a great sense of insecurity, which led to her always worrying about family, which definitely included me. I know I got my sense of taking care of my friends from Mom’s sense of taking care of me. My mother didn’t play the “every child gets punished because I don’t know which child did something bad” thing when it came to school. Every school got to do it once; Mom made sure it never happened again because she knew I never did anything wrong. Strange as it seems, my mother changed policy in two schools I went to because they couldn’t apply that policy to any classes I was in. 🙂
She was strong when she felt she had to be; otherwise, she’s a worrier. She worried back then and she worries now. She worried about my dad when it was needed, and she worried about my grandmother when it was needed. She worries about some of my cousin’s children because that’s just how she is. She worries about some of the mail that comes to the house. She worries about how much she eats and when she brushes her teeth and so many other things. At least I’m not that bad, thank goodness; I don’t sleep well as it is.
What she doesn’t worry about as much is her health; that’s my job. And as she gets older, being in her mid 70’s, I worry way more now than I ever have. Some people might remember that my mother had her own medical emergency back in 2009 when I wrote a post on my other blog about preparing for family emergencies and on this blog about lessons on health care. I still help her deal with her issues with blood pressure and slight memory issues, and now I deal with her arthritis.
In her life she gained so much weight that at one point she probably weighed what I weigh right now and she’s only 5’1″ tall, and now she weighs what she weighed when she graduated high school, way less than half of her highest weight. Neither the way she gained the weight or the way she lost the weight was healthy, but the way she’s maintaining it now is. At least I was able to help her there.
I have to deal with her doctors and some of the other things that go on in her life. It’s not easy because we don’t live in the same city, and she doesn’t always tell me everything until I think to ask her about it.
And yet she still worries about me as well. She worries about my financial status. She worries about my health issues. She worries about my happiness and whether I’m eating and exercising and sleeping. In essence, she lives her mother role, and now I’m living a mother role as well.
But it’s her mother’s day, and as I reflect on all the years, all the travels, all the adventures, all the stories, all the advice, all the help, all the worries, and everything in between, and I acknowledge that she’s aging and I’m aging and our time together grows shorter and shorter, I know that I love my mother in ways that I would never and could never love anyone else, and I could never tell her or show her enough.
I hope most of you can do the same with your mothers on this day; Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mother’s out there.