Sunday, May 12, 2013

For My Mother on Mother's Day

To know the kind of mother I have, you first must know a little bit about my childhood. When I was little, I spent most of my summer days outside in the pasture. I would come in with mud on my new dresses, hay in my hair, and, more often than not, cow manure splattered somewhere that was sure to leave a stain. It probably seemed as though I was simply rolling in dirt - which is not far from the truth!

Cows were curious, and so was I. I poked at frogs with sticks by day and fell asleep to their songs at night. Trees were for climbing, thinking, and making plans. Hay bails, to the expert eye, could be morphed easily into castles, forts, tunnels, kitchens, storefronts, dangerous cliffs, murky forests, and any number of make believe environments floating around in my still unbridled imagination.  

In the winter I valued  my milking boots and umbrella above all else; they allowed me to wade through and languish in mucky puddles, soaking in that weird, cool, squishy feeling around my ankles. They also made me feel far superior to the other second-graders who wore mere tennis shoes, and could explore not the perilous depths of those expansive bodies of water the way I could.

With all this adventure and excitement during the day, I heeded little mind to the goings on in our little farmhouse until I heard my Mother calling us in for dinner, and realized I was suddenly and ravenously hungry. I would race inside to delightful smells, my Mother's warm, familiar smile, and remindful directions to wash the dirt off my hands and change my clothes - dinner would be ready in 15 minutes. Oh how those 15 minutes crept by - bubbling pots teasing and twisting my stomach.

How lucky I was. I realize now that my childhood was an amazing gift. While I was blissfully exploring, pretending, and adventuring, my Mother was working, taking care of ailing grandparents, mending our torn clothes, planning activities for my sister and me, taking care of the housework, running the errands, and still making sure that a home-cooked meal would be on our table when our adventures were done. We never knew how much she did or that she must have been tired; and when we came inside she rarely turned down games, story-telling, or book-reading.

All of this leads me to a question: how did you do it, Mom? How did you do...everything? To this day you are the warmest, silliest, most capable, and most kind-hearted person I know.  You showed us how to make the most out of what we are given, and how to love with our whole hearts. You encouraged us to be creative, and to always try a little harder. You're also the best damn cook I know, and some of my fondest memories are of us sharing meals, and later sharing recipes.

The simple truth is that I wouldn't be who I am without you, and I am so grateful.

Thank you, Mom, and happy Mother's Day! 

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