Giving Thanks: An Ode to All Mothers, Especially Mine

Nearly every day I get home, usually exhausted, I drop my bags near the inside of my door, and think to
myself “How the heck did my mom do this whole work and life thing with four kids?”

I often feel like I’m barely surviving life and I’m flying solo – no responsibilities but myself. Moms are not just the glue that hold their families together, they’re the foundation and all the bricks!

Mothers compromise their bodies to give life, breast feed, endure sleepless nights, and then boom – their children hit puberty and they become ungrateful attitude filled-humans, hardly tolerable to anyone outside their age range.

I often reflect on my teenager years and feel so much guilt for the torture and attitude that both of my parents had to endure. I was a menstruating, moody 16-year-old devil with lots of opinions and complaints about any and everything.

Mothers are the only people kind enough to actually care to listen to our diatribes. Fathers generally give a passing glance (or glare), wondering if we’ve lost our minds, but usually remaining silent, knowing enough not to comment on our nonsensical mumblings.

At this stage, let’s face it, teenagers haven’t lost their minds, they really didn’t have them to begin with – the human brain doesn’t stop developing until around age 25, and that’s very apparent in the teenage years. Not so surprisingly, most of my worst life decisions happened before 25, so that’s the story I’ll stick with - my still developing brain was to blame for everything.

Through it all, my mom has been there to support me, with no shortage of suggestions and opinions to guide me on this bumpy road called life. Growing up, when I was talking, she never missed an opportunity to correct my grammar – and generally around the company of lots of people. My mom is a retired teacher, and she made sure to teach me all she knows about the English language, even at the expense of my pride.

She’s the reason I know the difference between they’re, their, and there. Now, as an adult, I stand by patiently waiting, making sure to never miss an opportunity to correct her grammar should she accidentally misuse a word. Correcting her grammar and finding grammatical errors in the New York Times are two of my favorite past times. Keep in mind, my grammar still isn’t perfect (you may even find an error in this article), but you get my point.

Truth be told, she’s the reason I’m a writer - literally. I wouldn’t have graduated from journalism school without her. She edited most of my, likely poorly written, papers in college – most notably a 100-page research paper that was torturous to write and probably even more torturous to edit.

When I got my first job in journalism at the PBS NewsHour, and had just three weeks to move, she and my father helped me quickly pack my studio apartment.

Most parents would likely freak out if their 23-year-old recent college graduate child was moving across the country to a city where she or he had never been, had no place to live, and no friends to take a job making $8.00 an hour. However, my parents quietly contained any of their fears and anxieties and gave me the freedom to chase my dreams and make my own discoveries and mistakes.

I only had three weeks to move, and on the night before my departure, my mom stayed the night at my apartment and helped me clean it from top to bottom. It took us hours, but I’m happy to report I got all my deposit back, which was needed on my new near-poverty salary.

Throughout all my job changes, boyfriends, moves, she’s been there to lend an ear or send an encouraging card or note in the mail. I love to travel, and she tracks my flights, ensuring that I make it safely to the many destinations I go to each year.

Leave it up to her, and she’ll tell you that her kids are the smartest and best looking people she’s ever seen – and that’s certainly one thing I won’t argue with her on. I know I have a strong support system in both sets of parents – mom, dad, step-mom and step-dad, which allows me to take even bigger leaps of faith in life knowing I’ll always have a cheerleading section behind me, even if I fall flat on my face.

Now, as time passes, and the side effects of her cancer from 22 years ago are rearing their ugly head on my mom’s body (she no longer has cancer), I’m reminded of the value of mothers. She’s a fighter though, and full of sass and attitude that she generously bestowed upon me. I know she’ll survive these horrible side effects, just like she survived my teenage years.

So cheers to mothers, especially mine. Thank you for giving me my intelligence, wings to fly and the freedom to use them both!

Do yourself a favor and tell your mom how much you love her.