I believe that mothers have this inexplicable gift of just knowing. It is the eyes-on-the-back-of-my-head theory. Ancient Romans believed we are built with a protective mechanism that guides us through life; they also believed that intuition is a mystery of life. Every day, I wonder how my mom knew everything there was to know about being a mother and made it look so effortless. It was not just the mundane housework or regular motherly duties, it was all the intuitive acts that made me question if she was some kind of superhuman. As I drink from mugs with funny sayings about not having the ability to be an adult, I ask myself if I will ever measure up to her. No one is a perfect mother, but in my eyes, she is as close as it can get. I have seen her make mistakes, but I have also seen her not dwell in them. She has taught me so much more than how to be a good mom; I learned how to remain firm in my faith, be honest, strong, to always say what is on my mind, and never let a “no” stop me. She set an example of who I wanted to be as an adult and then taught me how to be that person.
Beauty is in Everything She Does
Everyone likes to describe their mother as beautiful. While yes, it is true my mom’s physical appearance is very attractive, her beauty far exceeds what is outside. Everything she does is beautiful. The way she loved all three of us is the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed.
Growing up, she told us that no one will ever love us the way she did. I did not fully understand what she meant until I became a mom myself. I love my husband, siblings, parents, etc., but the love I have for my son is something I cannot completely put in words. So, now I get it. I know that everything she did came from her heart. I know she would go to the end of the earth if she could for us because she has proven that her words are true through her actions. When we hurt, she hurts, but when we win, she wins too. My world is beautiful because of her.
The smallest things that most people would overlook were never neglected. Flower arrangements, dressmaking, and baseboard cleaning are all things that I always noticed. I am pretty certain that she does not realize that I have been watching how she does things for my entire life, hoping that I can do them at least half as well. She unknowingly set the bar so high that the only way I can reach it is if she lifts me up.
Only the Strong Survive
This might seem like an uncommon way to describe someone positively, but it fits her so well. She is little, but she is tough, and she expects her children to be the same. She taught us at a very young age that the world can be cruel and hard. One of the most important things she instilled in us was that the opinions of others do not matter. This was her way of protecting us even if she was not around. As parents, we cannot always shield hurt from our children; however, she knew how to equip us to protect ourselves.
Now as an adult, people always question why I do not let things get to me, and it is because of what she taught me. It is because of her that I learned how to be a tough mom. I am not a sensitive person, but when it comes to my son, I am. So, naturally, it was very hard for me to react to the opinions of others concerning the adoption of my son. Much to my surprise, there are still people who do not understand adoption, and somehow I encountered them very early into my journey of motherhood. Some people had the most outrageous things to say to me, and every time I would vent to her, she would assure me that their opinions did not matter, reminding me of my hereditary thick skin and telling me to keep moving. I know she wished she could have intercepted so many of those conversations, but she just trusted what she taught me and prayed that I would be strengthened through those trials.
“No” Means Nothing to Her
“No” meant nothing to her unless it was to her children getting into something. The only time “no” meant no was when she said it to us! When someone told her no she would take it as a challenge. She was going to find a way to get it done. She was going to do or not do things on her own terms. I remember her telling me so many times that if I did not want to do something whether it was in school, sports, or my career it was going to be because I did not want to, not because someone told me I could not. Not only does she remind me of my goals but encourages me constantly to set new ones.
One of my favorite things to see is her face when she is brainstorming how to fix something. She rolls both lips into her mouth, pushes her eyebrows together, taps one thumb into the other, and slightly tilts her head. That is the exact moment I know that she is about to find a way. She sees “no” as a challenge.
Her persistence taught me to never give up. This has played such a pivotal role in my faith and motherhood. She taught me to be persistent in prayer, exercise patience, and remain firmly in what I believe.
Never on Time
This woman is never on time. If she has an appointment and gets there on time, she will conveniently misstep just to end up a couple of minutes late. She has this incredible way of making the world stop for her, but you cannot even be mad at her for it. I am a very punctual person, a trait that obviously came from my dad, and somehow, even when it annoys me, I cannot be mad at her. It was recently pointed out to me that when I am waiting for my mom I will eventually just sit in the car. I am not sure when or why I started doing that, but it still means nothing to her.
In December 2020 my mom was exposed to Covid-19. She was considered high risk because of preexisting health conditions and her age. When she tested positive, I was understandably worried; however, her symptoms didn’t seem bad at first. About ten days later, she started experiencing more severe symptoms, specifically difficulty breathing. Initially, her hospital stay was uneventful, and a simple solution of oxygen via a nasal cannula seemed to be sufficient. Within the next couple of days, the quality of her breathing significantly decreased. On Christmas morning, my sister called because Mom was going on a ventilator. The intensive care unit doctors allowed a brief FaceTime to say what we needed to say because her chances of survival were very slim. I refused to say goodbye. I told her I would be waiting for her when she woke up. My entire life I have waited for her to be ready on her terms. I have developed a ridiculous amount of patience that I attribute solely to her. I waited and waited and waited. This was nothing new to me. I waited 12 days for her to come off the ventilator. I waited two additional weeks for her to be released from the hospital and inpatient rehab. I waited an unexpected additional hour for her to be wheeled out of the rehab facility, and if I had to wait longer, I would have. It was the hardest wait of my life, but she eventually came out to the car.
Inspired by Her Forever
Needless to say, she is my greatest non-biblical inspiration. I will never fully understand how she balances everything. The way she works hard and loves harder will always be my long-term goal. The way I love her and acknowledge all her efforts is how I hope my son sees me one day.
I quit trying to figure out how she intuitively knows when to call me when I need her most but am too proud to ask for her help. I could give so many examples of when she has called in the middle of an emotional breakdown and said, “What’s wrong?”. How does she know? It will forever be a mystery to me. When I look back on my teenage years, it’s funny to me how I thought then that I would not need my parents as an adult. Turns out, I have needed them the most as an adult. Especially as a mom now myself, even if I did not ask my mom how to do something, I always tried to think about how she did it.
Just the other day, I was telling someone that I line-dried a lot of my clothes. When they asked me why, I responded, “Because that’s the way my mom does it.” I had to think really hard about the actual reason why. I am not trying to be my mom, and I know I have to find my own way in my life, but she has given me an amazing example to follow, and it is hard to branch out.
Everything I Want to Be
It has been an age-old fear for daughters that they would inevitably turn into their mothers one day. That feeling is so far from me. Every Sunday night, I iron my son’s clothes for the week, put them on hangers, and set them aside. Every morning, I grab an outfit for him, and then he gets dressed for school. Why do I do this? I do this because I watched my mom do the same thing when I was growing up. When my son started school I realized how important mornings were; there are a lot of balls in the air, and trying to get out the door on time can be a challenge. My mom, a chronically late person, understood that too. Her simple time-saving habit was filled with that special-secret-mom wisdom. There are so many examples of little tips she has given like this, but the most important mom quality she taught me was how to love hard.
She has encouraged every dream I have ever had, helped me fix every mistake I have made. I have watched her be a good friend and build lasting relationships and live a life that she loves and is loved in. How could that not be everything I want in life?
She is a mom. She is my mom, and an incredibly biased statement would be that she is the best mom in the world. I know she is flawed, and there are some things I might not like, but there is nothing I would change about her. There is a picture of her pulling me up by my arms when I was a baby, and it is my favorite picture of us. I like to say that picture sums up my entire life; she is always pulling me up and helping me regain my footing. When I have had trouble standing on my own, Mom has always been there. She has never left me to fend for myself. One day when my little boy is all grown up, I hope he can say the same thing about me. I know the strength and comfort my mom has given me my whole life, and the best way to honor that is to be an extension of her legacy.