Lately, when I think of my mother, Ann Taylor’s poem titled My Mother comes to mind. Growing up, I sang this poem quite often without truly understanding how much it would come to define who my mother is and all that she does.
Also lately, when I think of my mother, the cold Sunday morning of December 4th, 2011 comes to mind. It was the day, my mom and I, almost lost our lives. We were on our way to church, and the driver of an SUV truck ran the red line and t-boned us. The impact was on my mother’s side, and her Toyota Camry flipped over a few times before colliding with the side of an office building. I passed out for a few seconds and when I came back to reality, the first thought that came to my mind was “this car is about to go up in flames.” Ignoring my mom, who was moaning beside me, I unbuckled myself, opened the doors and stepped out. I wasn’t sitting or waiting around to be turned into a human burger. I staggered when I took my first steps and felt pain all over my body. Before I could get away from the car as I intended, my mother appeared at my side. She ignored her pain, ran around the car and caught me before I hit the ground. She was missing one of her shoes.
That image of her is forever seared in my memory because it signifies everything my mother represents and does for my siblings and I. My mother sacrifices! She endures pain and will give up her life to ensure that we are okay. I’m just starting to understand the depth of her love and what she is willing to give up or endure for me.
Recently, I realized I haven't separated her as a person from the way she loves as a mother. I don't see who she is and what she does outside of who she is to me, and what she does for me as my mother. I’m finding it hard to behold her without a sacrifice lens, and it bothers me because I don’t have a specific emotion that wells up within when I think, see or hang out with her. Affection is not something I have or necessarily feel for my mother. Don’t get me wrong I love my mother. When I think of her, see her or get around her, we have a good time. We are not best friends, but I love her and I know I’ll always be there for her. We hug, we cuddle, we laugh, and we talk. But affection, that warm guzzling feeling I feel towards my siblings, is not necessarily replicated with my mom. I have accepted it, but it does bother me still.
As much as I don’t feel affection towards my mother, the one thing I feel for her is appreciation. It is such a different beast from affection; it is the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something. Here are 5 qualities that I appreciate in my mother:
- Her ability to be calm no matter the circumstance. I grew up in a home of raging wolves. Let's be honest, three self-assured Leos and one intense Scorpio can be overwhelming to have in any conversation and situation. However, at the end of the day, when my mom, an Aquarius, starts to speak, we all quiet down to hear her take. My mom calms storms and I appreciate that about her.
- She taught me the value of rest. While my dad was the wake up at 5 am and go until sundown example, my mom was the work hard and then get some rest example. I am starting to realize I am more like her in the need and quest to get the rest I need so I can do the work I want to do and do it well. The clamor from the world that successful people are awake before 4a and will rest when they die is also a recipe for dying young. Why do that, when I can work hard, and live long to enjoy the fruits of my labor? No matter what time I wake up, which is usually between 3a – 6a or on weird days 8a, I am committed to rest.
- She is my favorite cook. Eat at my mother’s table, and you will lick both your fingers and plate and because that would not be enough, you lose all decorum and drink whatever is left in the pot sitting on the stove. My mom can cook
- She always asks for what she wants and needs. My mom would be heard and she does not have to yell. She always opens her mouth to ask for what she needs.
- Lastly, I appreciate my mother’s consistency and tenacity. When it comes to my siblings and I, my mom is as stubborn as a mule. She is devoted to any course of action that means we have better than she did or does even, and especially when faced with opposition. She does not give up. She pushes, she pulls, she fights and she wins.
I have been working to put my mother consistently at the forefront of my mind and heart, and as Mother’s Day approaches, I hope it is a work I continue to do. To love her, honor her, fight her less, and lift her up. Happy Mother’s Day mom, and to all the mothers around the world.