For the better part of twenty years, my sister and I were raised by my mom. My dad took off when I was in High School, leaving my mom to play both roles. She was a Chicago Police Officer, now retired, and she worked what seemed to be endless hours to give us everything we needed.
I was an obnoxious teen. I didn’t think my mom was tough. I didn’t think she could be a cop. Cops are fat old guys with mustaches. My mom was my mom. She was a sweet lady who let her son get away with murder because he was adorable. I was wrong. All of those years of parenting hardened her. She was just as tough as the cops I described, just not fat and definitely without the mustache.
In high school it was about a fifteen minute drive to my bus stop. So my mom and her partner would pick me up in the squad car and wait, with me in the back, until my bus came. To help my popularity in high school, I asked them to pretend I was resisting and out of control. They never bit; my popularity never grew.
Still, I remember her being there all the time. She was stern when she had to be, and there with open arms when I needed consoling. She had to deal with an obstinate teen boy and do my disgusting laundry including the occasional stiff sock that I may or may not have violated. For that alone she has earned my eternal admiration – even as an adult I still test the theory that the laundry will indeed do itself!
She always supported me, even if she did not agree with certain decisions but she supported me through every bad decision. Like volunteering in broadcasting, becoming a comedian and the entire year and a half of my first marriage.
She taught me respect, and I learned to respect women because of the way she handled adversity. I learned the hard way that I am not nearly as tough as a pissed off mom carrying a billy club and packing heat. I don’t know how she managed it, but at only 5’4″ my mom was the last person I ever wanted to cross.
Not only was she there to keep me and my sister out of jail, she was there for me at other times, too. Even when I didn’t really want her there. Like the time she witnessed my first kiss. I did not want to kiss with my mom watching but she was picking me up and my girlfriend insisted. So my first kiss was awkward. She was there for me when my heart was broken for the first time and for every time thereafter. (Even with this face there were many heartbreaks.)
She has a laugh that is infectious and a smile that assures you everything will be okay. Everyone says that about their mom but it’s most true in this case.
She sat through my first open mic only to watch me use swear words and talk about sex. She said she thought I was funny. Too bad she doesn’t own comedy clubs all over the country otherwise I’d be famous by now. She would probably tell you I got my humor from her. This will be just one thing we disagree on.
In my twenties I was stricken with cancer. She wanted to know where my lump was. It was on my testicle so I opted for the professional opinion of a doctor. Though I know it was not easy for her she showed so much strength and helped me get through it. She was always at my bedside making sure I was as comfortable as I could be. She was a large reason why my battle was not so difficult. She even snuck greasy food into my room because I really, really wanted to eat it.
My mom taught me everything I know about being a good man. She taught me the important lessons all moms should teach, but in her own voice. She taught me how to respect women. I am someone’s fiancé now. She is also a mother. I respect her as a woman, mother, best friend, and all of the wonderful things. I look forward to holding her hand while watching her kids grow up. We even do all of our disgusting stinky laundry together.
One very important thing my mom taught me was that being a mother is a full time job. The overtime is not optional and the pay sucks. I am so lucky to have my mother. She continues to amaze me and love me. I love her so much and only hope I can at least match all of the love she has given to me.
Happy Mother’s Day, mom!
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