Photo by: Tonja Bell

For My Mother

Photo by: Tonja Bell

I have learned that being a blogger means being authentic. Telling the world your story. A huge part of my story, is my mother.

Let’s go ALL the way back to the beginning. A young, single mother had a baby. There was a time in my life when I didn’t offer that information. I wondered what people would think about my mother or me if they found out that I was an unplanned baby. A baby born at the absolute wrong time to a mother who was still just a girl herself.

My mother was a baby with a baby. What I admire most about my mother is that she has always done exactly what needed to be done. Nothing less.

During the 70s, having a baby out-of-wedlock was still an incredibly shameful thing. Often times it was never even discussed. I can’t imagine what she went through. The option of giving me up for adoption was presented to her. For many, it seemed like the best option.

Adoption is a beautiful thing. It connects children who need to be loved with parents who want to love a child. But adoption was never an option for my mother.

I needed to be loved and she needed someone to love. She knew from the start that she would do whatever she had to, in order to build a life for us. Being a child herself though, she had no idea just what a tall order that would be.

My mother worked many jobs to support us. Whatever she had to do, she did it. She worked at restaurants, donut shops, and department stores. She usually held more than one job at a time. I didn’t know that this was anything but normal. My mother was a hard worker. Through her example I learned how to be a hard worker, too. That has served me well.

I feel like I grew up with my mother. I remember listening to music together. Laughing together. Learning to cook together (We are both still horrible at that last one, by the way). As I got a little older her constant singing and dancing used to drive me crazy with embarrassment. Now I do the same to my kids.

She was such a young spirit. She tells me that I was at times the more mature of the two of us, being only four and going through the house turning off lights to save money. My mother took care of me, and I felt like I needed to take care of her right back.

Back then some of us were referred to as latch key kids. I wore a ring with a key to our house on my belt loop. I would arrive home from school and let myself in. Mother was still working. We both had to do our part.

Mom worked so we could have a home, food and clothing. And I did my homework without being asked, made my own after school snack, and sometimes even tried to do laundry. We were a team.

My mom did marry later on. That changed the dynamic somewhat. I was able to feel like more of a kid for a while. Although I always kept my room immaculate and maintained an A average in school, without ever being asked.

My mother taught by example. Do what has to be done. Do your part. And that is what I did.

Then came the teenage years and those were trying. But that is the natural progression of a mother/daughter relationship. The girl has to evolve into a woman. And the mom has to learn how to let her.

Today I have the best relationship with my mother that I have ever had. We talk every day. She wasn’t ever the warm and fuzzy type. That just wasn’t her way. But I knew that she loved me. Because of the great sacrifices she made.

Today she tells me how much she loves me. And how proud she is. She tells me that I am a great mother. A great friend. A great writer. A great daughter.

A mother’s love has no limits. She only sees the good. Now I am a mother as well. And I completely understand.

My mother has always been there for me. We grew up together. Took care of each other. Now as she ages, I watch closely.

The forgetful memory. The wrinkles earned by a life that was not always the easiest. The once youthful spirit now is more relaxed. She has nothing left to prove to the world. She did things her way.

I don’t know if she understands how much respect I have for her. She taught me how to be a strong, compassionate and independent woman. Her failures and victories, I learned from them all.

Now I teach my children with my own failures and victories.

She told me once that God gives you exactly what you need and that he must have known that she needed me.

I love you too, Mom.

Stressed wife and mother of 4. I love sparkly things and vibrant people. Must laugh often. #blogger #runner #gangsta #orderly #hilarious

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