Happy Mother's Day, mom!
When I think of my mother, Iím grateful. She was born to be a mother, and sheís certainly cut out for the job, if I say so myself.
My mom has played motherly roles her entire life. One of 10 children in a big, crazy Italian family, she helped my grandmother stay sane by always lending a helping hand. When times were tough back then and money was tight, my mom was there as a counselor, a friend, a sister, a provider.
She was meant to be a mother.
I think back to when I was a kid, and it makes me credit my mom as being a saint. I was one of those kids who could never sit still, the kind whose energy could be as overwhelming as it was entertaining. But she embraced it. She loved it. She thought that I was really something great, a unique and funny little kid.
I must admit, I was mischievous here and there while I was growing up (Iím being generous to myself by saying that; sometimes I was a real handful). I had a knack for tracking mud into the house, one of those kids who tried to sneak their newly found pets Ė worms, frogs, bugs, anything you would want kept outside really Ė into the house. I climbed trees, got into little scraps with the boy across the street (I deemed my rival in the second grade), and almost always came home with scrapes and bruises from my outdoor adventures.
And though it would drive her crazy sometimes, my mom was always there to clean me up (and the floor, unfortunately), bandage my scrapes, and inform me that while she was sure my pet worm was a nice guy, he was better off outside.
She was meant to be a mother.
As I grew into my teenage years, I began to push my mom away Ė typical of an adolescent who firmly believes in her independence, even though her parents still do her laundry. I would sometimes give her a hard time, I would sometimes tell her that I didnít need her, I would sometimes tell her that I knew she was out to get me and embarrass me in front of my friends. I like to call this my moron phase. Of course I needed her then Ė I needed her the most back then Ė and though I would tell her differently, she knew I was all talk. She never gave up on me, no matter what.
When I moved to Boston, MA for college, I designated it as my chance to really show my mom that I had made it Ė that I was ready to be on my own and dazzle her with my independence. Boy, was I wrong. At times, during the four years I was away at school, I felt like I was confusing my young adult self with my child self. There were lots of times that I just needed my mom.
And she was always there. She kept her phone close incase I needed someone to talk to. She sent me cute Ė though totally outdated in the eyes of a 21-year-old Ė emails with inspirational stories and funny pictures of cats. She mailed me care packages, each and every one including a piece of paper that said ĎI love you!í Ė every single time.
A couple of times, when I got really sick while at school, my mom was ready and willing to book the next flight to Boston. I would always tell her I was going to be OK, that she didnít need to drop everything and fly to Massachusetts; she would always tell me that she didnít mind, that I would always be her baby no matter my age, that sometimes mom is the only one who could make things better. She was right.
Now, Iím a 23-year-old college graduate who lives at home in an effort to keep up with my student loans and other bills. I always tell my mom that Iím ashamed of returning to the nest, that Iíve become a sad statistic, that I should be taking care of her by now. She tells me that I need to relax, that itís OK, that sheís never been more proud of me.
Since I was a kid, Iíve always wanted to be a writer. I would bombard my mom with my storybook creations day in and day out. She read every single one. She framed my first published newspaper article in 2007, even labeling it ĎJenniferís first article.í And now, she reads my newspaper every week and tells me how proud she is of me. Sheís my biggest fan, and Iím hers.
She was meant to be a mother. And I am fortunate enough to be her daughter.