Growing up, there were things my mom did that I just could not understand in my juvenile, young adult mind. In fact, I didn’t understand them fully until I became a mother myself.
She rode in the car without music on. This used to drive me crazy. She would never turn the radio on. In my young mind, I could not fathom how you could drive around all the time without music blaring in your ears. And then, a few months ago, I was driving around with music blaring in my ears, two kids arguing in the backseat, my phone ringing over the bluetooth connection in my car, my husband trying to talk to me about our family budget, all while I was trying to remember something I was supposed to bring to work the next day. Suddenly, I realized that I couldn’t take the noise anymore and immediately eliminated the one thing that could be eliminated – the car radio. And I instantly felt saner. Sometimes, my life is so noisy that a silent car ride is just what I need. Thanks, Mom.
Mom also used to talk to herself. She’ll probably kill me for putting this on the internet, but it’s true. You could look over at her at any given point and she would be silently talking to herself. It used to drive me insane! How could she not notice that she was miming an entire conversation with herself while the rest of us just stared at her. And then, I caught myself standing in Publix yesterday, talking to myself. Like, out loud. I was standing in an aisle and I KNEW I was supposed to be getting something on that aisle, but for the life of me, I could not remember what I was standing there for. And the inner dialogue I normally have with myself in these situations (“Think, Katie. You came here for something. Was it ice? Ice cream? Ice cream cones? Think, Katie, think!”) was suddenly coming out of my mouth. I was so embarrassed because there were people around and here I was mumbling a full conversation to myself, but I had to laugh and think about my mom. Thanks, Mom.
Mom used to feed everyone who came to our house lemonade and popcorn. It became her “thing.” All my friends knew that when they came over, she’d serve popcorn and lemonade, and they loved it. I remember one year in high school, my house was rolled with toilet paper during Homecoming week by some guy friends of mine and my sister’s. My mom caught them in the act and instead of getting onto them, offered them popcorn and lemonade while they worked! This school year, Bean has started having more and more friends over to our house and as I stood in the grocery store, trying to think of something to serve the hoards of boys showing up and eating me out of house and home at only seven years old, I thought of my mom and how she always welcomed anyone over to our house. It never mattered how many friends we brought home. She loved having them there. And I realized as I priced out what to feed these kids at my own house that it must have cost my mom a fortune to keep snacks on hand for all these random kids. And that’s when I smiled to myself in the grocery store and stocked up on powdered lemonade and microwave popcorn because it was cheap and can easily feed a crowd. Thanks, Mom.
My dad never missed a birthday card, a Santa gift, or flowers after a ballet recital. And for years, I always thought that he was so thoughtful. And I still know that he was in a lot of his own ways. But this past weekend, as I stood in line to buy flowers for Chris and Bean to give Gracie after her ballet recital, I realized that perhaps it wasn’t ONLY my dad’s thoughtfulness. As a wife now, I know that behind my dad’s thoughtfulness was a mom who bought the birthday card for him to sign, shopped for the Santa gift for him to put together, and brought home the flowers for him to give me after those ballet recitals. All while happily giving my dad the credit. Thanks, Mom.
Growing up and becoming a mother yourself changes a lot of ways that you look at the world. For me, it has especially changed the way that I look at my own mom. I see daily glimpses of her in my life as a parent now, and with each small act that reminds me of my mom, I am also reminded of how blessed I was to grow up with a role model of what quiet, humble, selfless motherhood looks like.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.