(I tried to write this over the weekend at my parents’ house, but Dad’s computer is too slow. And, I know this is risky, to single out a few people in my life, but it’s something that’s been on my mind this past week through the Mother’s Day commercials, the marketing ads in the stores, and spending the weekend with my Mom and my sister Cheryl.)
Happy Mother’s Day
To my Mom:
My Mom has always been my biggest cheerleader, my greatest fan, and my dear friend, seeing me in a way that no one else ever has, before or since. She’s always thought I was brilliant, talented, famous, skinny, and pretty. Even when I’m none of those things. She always thinks the best of me, and taught me to think the best of my own children.
Mom is afflicted with a condition called Acute Positive Thinking. She is PollyAnna Personified. This morning before I left her house, she told me that the next time I come she will be so much better and so much stronger and we will be able to do so many more fun things.
Although she has lived in what some might call a State Of Denial in most things, one thing I can say for sure: Donna Grace Tate has never been, nor will she ever be a negative person. In any way. Under any circumstance. She taught me to look at the brighter side of life, the silver lining, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. No matter how sad, how bad, how mad I feel.
My Mother taught me to love books, to value the underdog, and to treasure any gift that is given to me, no matter how insignificant, whether it’s the right color or not, and whether it fits or not. She taught me to love the outdoors and especially the sunshine. She taught me how to garden, how to make potato salad, which I don’t even like, and how to embroider when I was 7. She taught me how to bathe my babies, and what to put on their bottoms to keep that nasty rash away.
She is now teaching me how to cling to every breath of life that God gives and to value each day He graces us with.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom. You are my one and only Mama and I love you.
To my Mother-in-law:
(Mother’s Day 2008, we’ve all changed a bit)
As Mothers-in-law go, I have been truly blessed. If I see “Mom and Dad A” on my cell phone screen when it rings, I know the greeting I will hear when I answer: “Hello Daughter…” whether it’s Mom or Dad A, they love to call me and my sisters-in-law “Daughter”. The mother of 4 boys, Mom got her daughters the easy way: Through marriage, and it’s as if after almost 29 years, she still can’t believe she gets to say “Daughter”.
This is a woman of endless wisdom. If sides are to be taken, she always takes the girl’s side. She has never once criticized my housekeeping, or lack-thereof. She has never criticized how I parent. She has always thanked me for being a good mom to her grandchildren and for being a good wife to her son. I know there must be things about me that make her nuts, but she never ever shows it. Although I try not to, I sometimes slip, and use a bad word in front of her, and although I see her flinch a teensy bit, she overlooks it. When I hear the horror stories of my friends’ Mothers-in-law, I breathe another prayer of thanks to God in heaven, not only for my wonderful husband, but for his mother who (at least pretends to) adore me.
Rick’s Mother has a way of finding what each of her ‘daughters’ enjoy doing, and joining them in their particular areas of interest. I’m afraid I am the daughter that must challenge her the most; I don’t shop. I don’t like shopping, I don’t understand “retail therapy”, and I tire of the mall, get a headache, and start whining after about 30 minutes. (My poor daughter, but that’s another blog post).
When we get together, my Mother-in-Law brings along
a. her walking shoes
b. her camera and
c. a water bottle.
And it never enters my mind that she just might rather be at Bellis Fair Mall or Alderwood Mall carrying bags from store to store of great deals we could be finding together. I even forget that she has other daughters-in-law and feel that I’m the only one in her life. It’s a rare and wonderful gift she has and she has blessed me beyond measure. Her name could be Naomi, and mine Ruth.
To my sister, Cheryl:
My big sister; I’ve always loved having a big sister. 5 years older than me, Cheryl is the perfect blend of sister/maternal nurturer/friend. She taught me how to put make up on, and after moving out of our family home, she made a point to have me to her apartment for sleep-overs, took me to movies (Barbara Streisand, A Star is Born), introduced me to Szeschwan food, and when I was only 17, asked me to be her maid of honor when she got married.
When we travel together Cheryl plans our trips, and makes sure we both have all our things. She has been generous beyond what the role of Big Sis calls for, and is always there when I need her. When Grandma Jo died, it was Cheryl I called when I finally broke down and cried the evening after she was buried. We were not emotionally close to our Grandmother, but we had many childhood memories that revolved around her and her home and I suddenly felt displaced. Cheryl understood and we talked about all our memories of Grandma’s house that night.
Cheryl and I raised babies around the same ages, my oldest being the same age as her youngest. Whether being daughters, granddaughters, sisters, or mothers, we’ve always done it together.
Today we drove 8 hours together after wishing Mom a happy Mother’s Day. I wouldn’t have wanted to do this, any of this with anyone else.
My Daughter-in-Law, and the mother of my precious little granddaughter, Hannah came into our lives when she was 17, and we have loved her as our own ever since. And now I have the extreme pleasure of watching her grow and mature as a young mother, and when I watch her with Nora I am blown away! Hannah is sweet and patient and kind and talks to Nora in a way I’ve never seen a mommy do. She is driven to be a good mom and I am not only proud of her, but humbled by her. Nora is so attached and in love with her mommy, and the bond between them is unmistakable. It is nothing new, as nothing is under the sun, and yet it is completely new and unique and has never been seen before!
As a Grandmother and a Mother-in-Law, I marvel that God, in His goodness and grace should bring to our family a woman of such caliber as Hannah.
And as I feel adored by my Mother-in-Law, I in turn adore this girl, my son’s partner and friend in life.
And for 4 beautiful and wonderful women, my Mother, my Sister, my Mother-in-Law, and my Daughter-in-Law, I thank God and wish them all a Happy Mother’s Day.