Saturday, March 03, 2007

Women Who Have Shaped Me: The One I'll Never Be Able to Write Well About

When I first read Bre's post about writing on the women who shape your life for Women's History Month, I thought, sure, I can do this. It sounds a) like a beautiful reason to write and b) like something I can do. After all, I know fantastic women. Also, I happen to believe that women are going to shape more in the next generations than they have in mine. They are the future.

After realizing I wanted to take part in this, I thought about who I could write about. Family, friends, teachers, the list was endless. "The final post will be about my mother," I thought. The best for last, right? Then, yesterday morning, I read Bre's post about her mother, and her mother's twin sister and thought "of course, mom is first." And though I could never put into words all the ways my mother has taught me and loved me and made me into the person I am today, I'm going to give it a heck of a shot. If that fails, I'll just use sarcasm, because that might be the most important thing I've ever learned from my mom.

It's been about twelve hours since we last spoke. No, we're not really one of those mother-daughter pairs that has to talk everyday, but more often than not, I find myself wanting to talk to her. I want her opinion, her advice, and just the conversation. We're lucky in life if we can find a few intelligent people, whom we respect, with which to have good conversation. You bet I'm going to take advantage of that, especially with someone that loves me. And she does, and I've never questioned that. Never even thought twice.

Last year, my mom went through a lot of health trials. There were hours, even one long day that thoughts of "what if" and "oh my God" crossed my mind. I was seeing the strongest, most independent woman I've ever known in pain. Worse, in uncertainty. It would be a mild statement to say that I wasn't used to this. I wasn't accustomed to seeing a woman that simultaneously started and ran a successful business and raised two daughters, never missing a parent-child day at school, dinner at five o'clock, or a volleyball game. This is the woman that packed my lunch and placed a napkin on top with special notes written just for me. This was the woman that checked the back of the bookshelves I was supposed to dust, and never so much as rolled her eyes upon discovering I'd skipped that part. Seeing her strength and patience set aside for this pain was every kind of wrong.

She'd recover though, and today she's doing fine. If nothing else, for me, those trials were a time for lessons. A time to remember that I have a woman in my life that loves me like no one else ever will. As odd as it may sound, she has become the gauge I use for perfection. That's not as it sounds. I have no illusions, my mother is not perfect. What it really is, what I've learned, is that she has a way of seeing past imperfection. She doesn't seem to see flaws and she especially doesn't see them first. She doesn't see her own, she doesn't see a stranger's and she doesn't see mine. She doesn't have some laundry list of what something or someone must be in order to accept them. Though she will not be walked on, or tolerate cruelty, she's open. She's taught me this. I'm quite certain it's not because she doesn't notice but rather, it's a choice. She's consciously made a choice that how she lives, how she relates to people and how she tolerates what she's given should be without judgement. It's not because she lives in a fantasy, it's because she made a decision.

More than anything else, my ability to choose has come from my mother. The healthy breakfast cereal, the way I spend my money, and the way I talk to people is always my decision. Even if we didn't always agree (and we didn't, because I always wanted Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch), that much was clear. If I had to decide today the one thing from my mother I'd always keep with me, it would be that. Choices. We may not expect them, we don't even have to like them, but they are there and it will always be right to remember that. For that, it is Mom I have to thank.

10 comments:

Backofpack said...

I think you did a very nice job of writing well about your Mom. She sounds like the kind of person I would like to meet and have in my life. And you know what the best compliment she has ever had is? You. Knowing you only through your writings, I think that your Mom must be very proud of you and your character. She's done a fine job of shaping you (despite the Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch).

Bre said...

So very lovely! I think writing about your mom is always the hardest, because ... how does anyone explain it? You did a smashing job! :)

Sizzle said...

you and bre are setting up high standards for this! both of your posts have been so eloquent and touching.

this was beautiful. :)

justacoolcat said...

Great post. Mind if I copy it and send it to my mom? It's all so very true.

Sempre Libera said...

You're very lucky to have such a special relationship with your mother, and you write about it beautifully. And I love the bit about the breakfast cereals, 'cause it's so familiar! :-)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That is such a lovely and thoughtful piece of writing! I know that too often I take my family in particular for granted when I should be spending more time celebrating the people who mean so much to me, or at the very least considering what it is about them that makes them so extraordinary.

Your mother sounds wonderful. Bless her.

Nicole said...

That was an absolutely beautiful post. Your mom relationship sounds a lot like the one I had with my mom. I hope she stays healthy and strong and remains a role model for you for a very long time.

Robb said...

It is never easy to express how we feel about those we love. Well done! A fitting tribute I'm sure.

skinnylittleblonde said...

Very nice.
No doubt that my own mother & grandmother have been the biggest heroes of my little corner of the world...quickly followed by my sisters.

shopper said...

This is a very nice post about your mom. My mom came to my mind first also. Who else? It's nice to hear that you have such a great relationship. You are both lucky girls! ;)