My Mom. Cindy. CD. Puff. Twinks. Nama. My buddy. The woman who forever and ever has put everyone else ahead of her in line. Every single day of her life she has put herself behind others- a gift for us but a gift I wish she would give herself. That is my Mother’s Day wish for her.
My Mom (and Dad truthfully) has always been there for me and my brother. Growing up she worked a job to ensure she was home when we got on the bus and home when we got off the bus. She has worked the same jobs since I can remember (2 jobs for those of you counting). Not glamorous, not fancy but one in which she has touched the lives of countless students filling their day with a sliver of love and warmth. She was there when we got off the bus- and for the handful of times she wasn’t, you better bet I wasn’t allowed to have a single boy in the house or the neighbor told on me.
She always wanted a better life for us than the one she had. She had many people that loved her in her life growing up but also has had one of the toughest roads of anyone I know.
She always told me I could be whatever I wanted to be except for be a professional dancer in NYC. She dreamed big for us and still does to this day. She was a subtle feminist. “Don’t rely on a man for money, make the money yourself” she would tell me. So true Mom, so true.
Even when money was tight my dance classes and recital costumes were always the first things paid for. I memorized Cinderella because she read it to me so many times. She taught me how to bake, set a table and have impeccable manners that I use in the fanciest restaurants that I seem to end up in today. She would say to me “you can walk into any designer store and if you have manners and class they will never know how much money you really have”. I thought of that as I walked through Bergdorf Goodman’s in NYC just last week.
She is the first person I call when something goes right or wrong. When I’m sick, I call and ask for chicken soup (and yes, she makes me gluten free noodles). She is better with the grandkids than sometimes the parents are, but that’s the role of a Grandma (or Nama as Logan calls her). She will still tell me how many years it has been since I moved back from DC (11 for those keeping score) and whenever I bring up moving to the ocean she tries not to react. But I think even she will admit that my move was the best thing I ever did for me. I found myself and valued my family even more. I came back a better person.
We can fight like cats and dogs. It hasn’t always been pretty. It still isn’t. But that’s what happens between Mom’s and daughters. Oil and water. Those teens years were ugly. There have been times that she hurt me and I hurt her. Both of which I am sure we would take back in a second but it is our story. Part of the journey.
She always told me “You need a man that will challenge you. You will kiss a lot of toads before you find your prince.” I will never tell how many toads there were, but she was right. There were some that loved me and some that didn’t. She had opinions on all of them- some of which she shared and some that she bit her tongue on. But when I moved back from DC she said “He’s around here. I think you need to drive up and down Niagara Falls Boulevard. He’s close by.” Joe’s office was one street over. Her theory still holds true.
And then the day came when I became a Mom. She was there, along with my Dad and my in-laws and has never waivered. When I was knee deep in post-partum depression she was there. When I cried needing advice, she was there. When I needed to take a nap, go on a date, hear that I was pretty, need a home cooked meal- she was there. Then I understood. And when I realize what she did and how I treated her I will call her up and say “I am so sorry. Logan told me he didn’t love me today and that hurt and I did that and I am so sorry.” I believe we owe that to our parents. It acknowledges them and their sacrifices.
When I stand up and make a speech in front of hundreds of people, my Mom is the shy one sitting in the back thinking “I don’t know where she gets THAT from.” Yet she gave me the foundation, the cheerleading section and the push that told me I could be whatever I wanted to be.
Just last night I was on the phone with her and we got laughing so hard I was crying. Tears streaming down my face. A gift. A Blessing. My buddy. So this Mother’s Day my wish for her is that she see’s the gifts in herself that she gives to others and will now give it to herself. She is worth it. Thank you Mom for all that you have given us. Words are never enough but know that your gifts and legacy are tremendous. I don’t take a single day with you for granted. xo