Today is my mother’s birthday. Even though the miles separate us, we are still very close. As a kid, I never appreciated all that my mom did for the family. Now that I am a mom myself, I can see how difficult the task was. Of course, being a mom is a labor of love. My mom set aside her own life and hobbies until my brother and I was grown and out of the house. Now that she is a retired empty nester, she can go back to her hobbies again. However, she has never stopped being my mom.
My brother and I played sports as kids. My mom never missed a game or a practice. Our uniforms were always clean and ready to wear on game day. If we needed new equipment, she made sure we had it, with no questions asked. She would shuttle our teammates and us to games in other towns. She hosted the hockey post-game tape review in the living room with half of the high school hockey team. She let me play softball after taking a line drive in the mouth. She just pulled my lips out of my braces, cleaned up the blood and sent me back to the game. She never flinched. I cannot imagine how strong her fortitude must have been to see me injured and let me keep playing. I could hardly watch my son on the basketball court, no blood or anything. She taught me that you finish what you start and skip the drama.
Some lessons she tried to teach me did not stick. She is a great cook. Whatever she whipped up turned out very good. Her leftovers are better than any gourmet meal I churn out. I am not sure how my kids continue to grow. When we are with my mom, my boys always hope that Nana will cook the meal. They really, REALLY hope she will cook. I have never tasted a better apple pie than my mom can make. Her pie is practically its own food group. She can cook for 4 people or 400 people and there is always enough. Even Gordon Ramsay would have a hard time finding fault with her fare. She also uses a timer on the stove to let her know the meal is done. I…well; the smoke alarm will let me know dinner is done. However, mom never complains about the bland and/or over-cooked food I serve. Mom just washes her meal down with a glass (or two) of milk and chokes out, “That was good, Shell…now let’s open the windows and let some of this smoke out.” I can only hope to be half as good as she is!
My mother is a seamstress. Saying that my mother merely “sews” does not cover her level of skill. She creates magic with a little fabric and thread. She has made several quilts over the years and they are amazing. She can dissect a picture and make it in reality. She is truly an artist. Me…not so much. She has tried to teach me, but like the cooking gene, the sewing gene must have skipped over me. I have heard it said that talent would often skip a generation, so I bet one of my sons can sew like crazy. Damned genetics! When I was little, I was the only kid who LOVED to wear homemade clothes!
As important as the skills listed above are, my mom taught me is that being a family is really all that matters. Rich or poor, close or far, family is always with you. You carry them in your heart and soul forever. Friends may come and go, but family is always there. My mom is the nucleus of our family. She is the cement that keeps us strong. I would not be the person I am today if it was not for her guidance. Thanks mom! I love you. And yes, I am wearing clean underwear…just in case I am in an accident!