Sunday, May 8, 2011

This Mother's Day

I have several posts almost ready to be posted so there will be posts soon. As my calendar started reminding me of 3 important dates this week, I felt like I should write something for Mother's Day.  Everything else got put on hold, for now, so I could work on this post. This week is not only Mother's Day but it is my parents anniversary. Their anniversary would have also been my grandmother's birthday if she had not passed away 9 months ago. 

I know this will be a hard Mother's Day for the 4 children who lost their mother last year. My grandmother was a special woman. She was always someone who could hold an interesting conversation about anything. She loved to smile. She loved children, especially babies. She would always hum to them. To this day I forget about humming sometimes. But when I have exhausted all else to settle a baby down it just naturally comes out. Babies seem to love to be hummed to. 

My grandparents took us kids out to dinner. Sometimes they drove us to school. They took us shopping. They babysat us over the summer.  They took us to the pool.  They took us to the beach, my grandmother LOVED the beach.  Somehow my grandparents even managed to have enough patience to drive 21 hours on yearly trips up North with the 3 of us in the backseat.

As my grandmother became sick enough that she was stuck in a nursing home, I wished I were closer. Being a stay at home mom I would have had the time to take the kids to visit frequently. Instead it was a 13 hour drive (and 5 kids made it 15+). I tried to talk with her on the phone often. 

As I miss my grandmother this Mother's Day, I am again faced with the fact that I do not thank my own mother nearly enough. Every year I want to do something special. I can't think of anything special enough though. I don't know that there's really much to buy her since she loves to shop. I always want to write a big sappy card full of all the things I am thankful for, but it feels like a cheesy Mother's Day thing since I do not do it enough the rest of the year.

I am sure my mother could win one of those contests where you write a description, essay, or why they should win. Of course, I don't watch enough TV to ever know about them in time. It's fairly obvious that my mom has made me who I am today, even if I wish I were more like her. My mom has incredible patience that I really wish I had inherited. Everyone talks about how patient I am, yet I don't feel very patient but always remember how patient she has always been. 

You can tell how patient she is in her career. She spent so many years working in a rehabilitation hospital. She worked with patients who had head and spinal cord injuries. Many of these are patients who can't walk, talk, feed themselves, etc. On "take your daughter to work day" I could see her work. She knew each of her patients by name. She knew what they liked and didn't like. She knew each of them as the person they still were, not as the "vegetable" some would refer to them as. Even if they weren't ever going to respond she would cheerfully refer to them by name. Even among the ones who couldn't respond, some of those you could see light up when she came in the room or even see them smile when that was about all they could do.

My mom always puts others first. Luckily my dad has always made sure she takes time for herself. I am not just talking about her putting her own kids first. There were always other kids hanging out at our house growing up. She taxied, I don't even know how many other children around.  She now has 12 grandchildren. It doesn't matter where she was, she was there for the birth of each one of them. She was there when she had to come straight from her own grandmother's funeral. She was there right before her own mother's funeral. She was there when the doctor wasn't. She was there when the father wasn't. She was there, even with the one born in the car.

It's no wonder that Nana is one of, many of her grandchildrens' first words. Nana has the fun house with a bedroom full of toys just for the kids. Nana keeps (peanut free, so it's safe for all grandchildren) candy in her house for the kids. She is there to babysit, even if it is 5 kids, for the birth of a sibling or an anniversary dinner out. She has sat with grandchildren in the hospital. She has held grandchildren getting blood drawn. Even when she isn't feeling well she has trouble saying no. She goes to dance recitals, boy scout banquets, soccer games, horse shows, orchestra concerts, she even sells girl scout cookies. They have driven 4 hours each way to make sure a granddaughter away at college for the summer, gets to go out for her birthday.

This hasn't changed. I remember her being there when I broke my arm.  I remember her being there when I sliced open my sister's foot. I remember not getting in trouble for spilt milk, instead being patiently taught to wipe it up. I remember not getting in trouble for slicing open my sister's foot, it was an accident. I remember her picking me up from after school activities, no matter how last minute I called for a ride.  She taught me patience.  She shared with me her love of reading.  She taught me to crochet, sew, and cook.  She even taught me how to shop.

The model she is to her children and grandchildren is important.  People learn best through what they see, hear, and experience. She shows us patience. She shows us unconditional love. If the most golden rule of all is to "treat others how you would like to be treated" she exhibits that every day, even when others aren't treating her the same.

There are groups out there giving awards for "Mother of the Year", to moms' who did something special.  What about the mom who does everything special. She doesn't just spend 1 week, 1 month, 1 year taking care of others, but does it every single day.

This week is Mother's Day, National Nurses' Week, and her anniversary. This week is for my mom. Thank you for everything you are and everything you do.

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