A person I don’t write about much is my mom. But it’s Mother’s Day and I feel a great amount of pride in her. My mom, Julie, is often a person who stays in the background rather than the forefront. She is quiet, silly, polite, and utterly devoted to this family. She has held positions of authority with humility, and she cooks for all five of us every single night. My mother is beautiful too, though she does not believe so. As a fellow Canceranian, the way she loves and cares is intense, focused, and never ending not matter what happens.
I admire her very much.
When I was about to turn 3, I had a pretty intense surgery on my brain and spinal cord. She stayed calm and collected despite feeling that she was somehow responsible for my being sick. She worked very hard and loved even harder. A thing that happened after my surgery was that I was temporarily paralyzed. Rather than give up on me, my father actually stayed home with me every day to bring back all my physical abilities. My mom worked extra shifts and stayed extra hours to keep her family afloat. She also did all the grocery shopping, all the cleaning and gardening, and still cuddled with me most every night. Even my father has admitted that she never complained.
She found ways to make it to all my school functions, my concerts, my dance performances, despite sometimes working around the clock. She even made dinner every night, too! She and my father took me on a lot of adventures, road tripping and camping all over the western half of the country. She found time to go on long walks with me and tried to talk with me meaningfully every day.
I admit that I was not the greatest teenager in the world. Especially to her. I was laser focused internally a lot of the times. I was also intensely focused on all my extra activities, working, and trying to stay above feeling down a lot. I didn’t realize then that I had depression or anxiety, and I took a lot of that out on my mom. She was patient and kind anyway.
When I was in my 20s, I competed in pageants for scholarships and as a big personal goal after my father died. A thing that was required during the pageant performance was that we were escorted by a parent during evening gown competitions. My mother was terrified, even though we shopped for beautiful dresses for her too. We practiced everyday up till the pageants. Finally the pageants came, and each time, she was beautiful and elegant. I was so grateful that she did something so hard for her, just for me.
After my father died, my mom and I decided to be two adults in respect of how we treated each other – not necessarily mother and daughter. We talked openly and usually several times a day. She supported and encouraged me through failed college majors, failed ridiculous relationships, a big move, and an elopement. She learned to not take my mood swings and worsening mental health personally.
When we all moved in together, our relationship was suddenly so difficult. We weren’t kind to each other and we were each going through a lot of terrible issues. My mom was struggling with grief. I was on the wrong medication for my mental health, and worse than I had ever been. I was ready to throw in the towel, but suddenly something changed and we learned how to be in a real relationship again. I am so grateful for this because, like everyone, I don’t really know how to live without my mom.
Sometimes, I don’t know she actually doesn’t fall over exhaustion. She spends her days of retirement zooming around, just like when she was working. She even had breast cancer a while back, and she healed from both the surgery and the cancer in record time. She’s about the only person I know that wakes up perky, alert, and basically singing
What a great woman, right? Happy Mother’s Day, mom. You’re among the best people ever and you do amazing stuff every single day. The kids and I love you. And Happy Mother’s Day to y’all too.