Happy Mother's Day!
If you see my mom, you'll see a laidback, friendly woman with a bright smile that lights up a room.
While I admit those are all wonderful qualities about her, I have insider information! As her favorite, well, only, daughter I'm here to spill the tea!
When my father was alive, I was definitely his little princess. He kept me in a bubble and it was rare to even see me walking on my own two feet when he was around. In contrast, there is my mom, the poster child of tough love.
Friends and family are even often taken aback when they see my mom encouraging me to do things for myself. Even though everyday activities might take extra time or twice the effort, my mom always instilled a sense of independence in me. Sure, half my body is weaker and I don't have as much coordination because of my disability, but to her, that doesn't seem to matter one bit!
This mindset became even more important when my father passed away and we had no choice but to work together with my mom to take care of our home as well as my baby brother who was only one year old at the time. Mom constantly said, "If I die tomorrow I want you to be able to take care of yourselves".
Despite the fact that she would push me so hard to do things on my own, there were other times I felt she might have lowered the bar for me. I do remember her seeming overly concerned about whether I should get my driver's license, pursue a college education, or put up with the mental and physical pressures of entering the workforce. I still sometimes get discouraged when she does this, but then I try to remember the value of practicing empathy.
Even with all the gentle (and not so gentle) pushing she does for me to be independent, at the end of the day I imagine she is a parent still wanting to shield her children from an unforgiving world at times. I can't imagine what it was like when she gave birth to me and discovered I was blue in the face and struggling for oxygen, finding out I would have a lifelong disability, having to sit through all those surgeries, and being a widowed parent on top of all of that.
During these moments when I feel like she's being overprotective, I try to imagine my mom as a lioness doing her darn best to protect her cubs.
She might even seem like a walking contradiction, but I wouldn't have it any other way. While she might tell me to be careful each time I get behind the wheel or step in to try to help me avoid feeling the sting of disappointment or rejection, she ultimately pushes me to be better.
She also balances those tendencies out by showing me a softer side in other ways. I might complain sometimes, but at the end of the day, I am on the receiving end of her unique love language - her generous breakfast feasts, her allowing me to express myself freely, her encouragement to embrace my femininity... The woman even got matching tattoos with me!
Mom, I'm so lucky to be blessed with the imperfect perfection that is you! Here's to many years of me trying to take care of you the way you've always taken care of me. Thank you for everything you've done and what you continue to do for me each day.
I love you and happy mother's day!