Today is my mom’s birthday, which gets overshadowed by Mother’s Day every single year. Then when I got married and became a father, her special days were obscured even more by the fact that Mother’s Day became mostly about MJ (and rightfully so). And unfortunately, since I’m pretty broke these days, I don’t have a real gift for her. Which is pretty awful since she gives us EVERYTHING and has since we were kids.
So I’m baking her a cake, which is miraculous because the idea of me baking anything scares most people to death. And maybe there’s something to that because I cooked the cake with olive oil instead of vegetable oil. I thought they were interchangeable. What can I say? I’m no Emeril or PJ at RMDM.
But even though she’d be happy with just seeing her kids, I felt I needed to do a little more. So mom, this blog post is just for you. Happy Birthday and enjoy the list of Things My Mom Taught Me:
“There’s no such thing as being too involved.”
My mom was at every single thing I ever did as a child. I’m not exaggerating either. There isn’t one practice, game, performance or event I can recall that didn’t include my mom. Sure she baked cupcakes, made cookies and did all the usual mom stuff, but she also took it a step further. She drove the bus to my away games in high school. She directed my senior class play, and in a stunning act of nepotism cast me as the lead. She volunteered to chaperone every dance and field trip we had. She found creative ways to help a stressed out, nervous wreck of a kid with math homework. An employer would look at her resume and deduce she took 20 years off, but nothing could be further from the truth. No one has ever worked harder at being a dedicated parent. I got pretty pissy as a teenager because she was around all the time, but now as a parent I see how much good it did me.
“You can never be too corny.”
My mom is cool, but she’s uncool if you know what I mean. As in she’s so gullible and naive and cute that she actually comes around full circle back to cool. And she never hesitated to shower us with love. Not even in front of our friends. She demanded hugs and kisses and refused to let us off the hook when we were teenagers, and giving your mom hugs and kisses was the dorkiest thing a teenage mind could fathom. And even though sometimes she’d get mad because I’d give her all the trouble she could handle, I knew nothing I did would ever cost me her love. And looking back, there’s just no substitute for that kind of reassurance in life. It’s corny, but true.
“Always be on time.”
My mother taught me to always be on time and to value other people’s time. Granted, she accomplished this in a fairly unorthodox manner, because she is and continues to be the most tardy person on the face of the Earth. We were late to everything growing up. My poor brother was late to school 63 times in one term! It might have something to do with the fact that my mom’s cell phone, her watch, her alarm clocks and the clock in the car are all fixed to different times. I’ve never quite figured out the system she’s supposedly using, but I know it doesn’t work. I guess the idea is to set the clock ahead say 10 minutes so you hurry because you think you’re running late. Only when you point this out to my mom she says “It’s OK, that clock is 10 minutes fast.” And then we end up running late. So even though she did it via a circuitous path, my mom is the reason I’m on time or early to every single thing in my life.
“Sacrifice is important.”
I can’t think of too many other people who sacrificed as much as my mom. And it’s not just the big things like being a stay at home parent despite having all the skills in the world to be successful in the workforce. It’s the little things that came with being outnumbered 3 to 1 in the gender department. Take the TV for example. My mom didn’t get to watch anything she wanted. Figure skating, Lifetime, and her favorite movie, The Cutting Edge. We overruled her at every turn in favor of sports and R-rated movies. And when we went on vacation for a week, we’d always get our way for six days, and mom would get one. We liked amusement parks and baseball stadiums. Batting cages, bumper cars, go-carts and everything else boys are into. And we’d go crazy all day long while my mom literally sat there, holding our stuff and watching us. Then, when her one day came, she’d always want to do something like drive through Amish country. And instead of being grateful for our six days and respectful of mom, we’d make sarcastic and snide comments while complaining the entire time. Looking back I’m surprised she didn’t smack us, but I also feel bad we acted like spoiled brats.
So there it is, just a few of many reasons my mom is the shit. I can’t possibly thank her for all she’s done over the years, and all she continues to do now as the World’s Best Grandma. All I can tell her is I appreciate it. Now more than ever. And despite all the teasing and poking fun, I love her and literally have no idea what I’d do without her.
Happy birthday mom.