I always hated the assignments in school that ask you to write about the "most influential person in your life" or "your hero" or "role model." You know, the ones that students chose to write about people like Jesus; President John F. Kennedy; Helen Keller; William Shakespeare; Superman; Michael Jordan, Madonna, etc. I could never decide who to write about. The funny thing is that the answer to those questions has been with me all along. I just didn't know it until I was a grown woman and mom. The answer is, without question, my mom.
My mother is my best friend. Without her, I would not be me. I don't mean that I am a carbon copy of my mom; I'm not. There are parts of me that even she doesn't understand. I am my own person, and I always have been, because of her. My mother has never reigned in my dreams and aspirations. After all, it was she who taught me to soar to great heights. My mother has always been full of hope and dreams for her children. It was my mother who showed me how to be determined and never let go of my goals, even if I was defeated time after time.
My mother has always been my greatest cheerleader; advocate; protector; provider; inspiration. My mother is always thinking; always coming up with plans and ideas; she refuses to give in or give up. She believes that my brother and I can do anything we set our minds to doing. She never pushes. She merely gives a little bump-draft, as they say in the movie "Cars." My mother has helped with every one of my endeavors for as long as I can remember, going above and beyond what is necessary, regardless of whether she understands or agrees with it.
One might argue that my mother indulged my brother and me; spoiled us. And I would agree, but she spoiled us in a good way. She spoiled us with love and indulged our passions and interests, thereby helping to shape who we are today. My brother and I know that we are loved and supported and that she's got our backs, when the world turns its back on us. We know we will never be alone. We know that our dreams are important and achievable. And we have always known these things. That is what has given us the courage and confidence to move away from family, go on adventures, make bold career moves, stand up for what we believe is right and pursue many interests. Isn't that the kind of love and loyalty a parent is supposed to provide?
My mom and I talk almost every day, sometimes more than once, because we like to chat with one another. My brother talks to her just as much I do. It's not that we are dependent upon her, it's that we like to feel her presence in our lives. We like her to know what is going on with us and our families; we like to hear her thoughts about things; and we like to know what is going on in our parents' world. It helps the great many miles between our homes to melt away.
Now that I am a mother, I can begin to understand the depths of her love and connection. A friend struggling with fertility issues once told me that when she looked at her hands, she saw the hands of her mother and grandmother, and it was that kind of biological connection to a child that she yearned for so much. It may sound trivial to some, but I know exactly what she meant. I, too, see the hands of my mother when I look at my hands. The hands I remember well holding my own, caressing my hair when I was upset or sick, mixing cookie dough, holding her first grandson. And when the time comes that I cannot speak to her or see her again it is her hands, so similar to mine, her thick Texas twang and her loud, infectious laugh I will remember.
To all the mothers who love, support, cheer for, protect, and advocate for their kids, Happy Mother's Day! To my own my mom: You get the award for "World's Best Mom." I love you, and thank you for being such a wonderful teacher, role model and grandma.
I am made of equal parts of my mom and dad. So, in June you get to hear about my dad. Moms, enjoy your weekend! Over and out.