I love you, Mom.
I'm 40, unmarried and have no children. I don't know what it's like to be a mom. What I do know is what it's like to have a mom - a mom that is fully invested in being my mom and has never had any other job in my 40 years, except for being my mom.
It's a full time job. Perhaps I haven't had children because I knew I could never live up to being half the mom my mom is. An only child, and a girl, I can't imagine what my mom has gone through. Where boys will hang with their mom and go off and do their own thing, I would lovingly bake cookies with my mom, at the same time plotting against her. For no reason. Except that she wanted me to live an easy, happy life, and I was too busy rolling my eyes to see it.
Given the best childhood any child could dream of, I wasn't an easy child to raie. I was stubborn, willful and the complete opposite of my mom. When she was thoughtful, I was all about myself. When she planned, I lived for the moment. When she sacrificed, I was careless.
My mom embodies what love means. She loves unconditionally, and even harder at the times I most don't deserve it. I think a mom gives birth to you many times over in your life. She's the glue that has kept me together when I didn't make the high school cheerleading team and failed so horribly at it I wanted to change schools. She's the reason I graduated from undergrad, when I wanted to quit daily my senior year. She was the net that supported me in chasing dreams and moving cross country. She's the reason I came back to the most awful winters from palm trees and blue skies. She's unwavering in her strength and loyalty and doesn't know half of how she strong she is. My mom has taught me courage, and how to "be who you are." She has taught me to love myself and most importantly, has always loved me during my ugliest of times when there is no chance I deserved it and had lost all the lovable parts of myself. She taught me to think of others always, and think of yourself last.
While we spend more time together lately than we have in my adult life, my mom and I are still quite different. The times we become aware of that are the only times we bump up against each other or when I become hard to raise once again. Even still, I work to navigate what it means to be "an adult child of my mother."
I am always in awe of how put together my mom is. Even for 7:15am farmers market trips. When I am picking up clothes to throw on from the hamper or the floor, and MAYBE brushing my hair, my mom has showered, tried on a new hairstyle and put on a perfectly coordinated outfit, complete with matching her necklace to her shoes and a new shade of lipstick, ready to face her day. She is beautiful. She is grace. She is compassion.
She is my mom.