All right, I don’t usually write about anyone in my family in great detail, but considering it’s Mother’s Day I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to say a few things about the lady I owe my entire existence to, my mommy!! I’m turning 25 this year (AhhhHHHHhh!!) and I think it makes sense that after a quarter century of putting up with me (with few to no complaints, I might add!) a little recognition seemed appropriate.
I will start by saying that I NEVER know what to do for my mom for Mother’s Day. There really isn’t a good enough box of chocolates to adequately express my gratitude for what she does for me on a daily…okay hourly…okay, fine, minute-by-minute basis! There isn’t a bouquet of flowers huge enough, fragrant enough or beautiful enough. And while getting my mom candles or bath bombs is always an option, when I really thought about it, I knew what she would appreciate most is reading something her daughter wrote about how much she appreciates all the small and big things she’s done for me over these (almost) 25 years. After all, because of my mom–because of all the sacrifices she and my dad have made throughout my life–I now get paid to write; I get to follow my passion. If it weren’t for their decision to support me in this, there’s no way I’d be able to try to make something of myself. The least I can do is write something about the lady who makes it all possible.
I think a good example to begin with is to talk about how awful moving is. Seriously, find me one person who likes moving and I will tell you to direct that person to a mental institution. Currently I am sitting on my IKEA pull-out couch, which my mom reupholstered for me (if you weren’t aware, my mom can basically turn any piece of furniture into a zillion-dollar masterpiece), in my new apartment that my mom helped me move into. Did I mention I’m 25 years old? It would never occur to her to let me handle something so horrible as moving on my own, and I’m talking manual labor and all. And this isn’t even just about actual moving day. A few weeks before the scheduled move, she called me up to let me know she’d found an awesome Pottery Barn chaise lounge at a garage sale and did I want it? Well, DUH! Of course I did. Embarrassingly enough, I didn’t even think about how that chaise lounge was going to get from that sale to my still non-existent apartment. I still don’t exactly know how she moved it, but considering she moves more furniture than the guys on “American Pickers,” I have no problem imagining her lifting this gigantic, chaise over her head and jamming it into our car like it’s no big deal. Name me another mom who would do that, without asking, then keep the thing in her garage for weeks, then move it AGAIN into her daughter’s apartment, all while acting like this is some normal, routine thing. I can’t think of one!!
Speaking of moving, she STILL talks about the time I moved out of my dorm room sophomore year of college by myself…and how guilty she felt for not coming to Boston and helping me that ONE time. It’s funny she thinks this because ironically, I think about that horrible experience as one of the more character-building events of college. First of all, most people, unless they lived within driving distance of Boston, did not have their moms flying in to help them move boxes into storage. Most parents said things like “Figure it out!” Well, not my mom. I remember heaving box after box down six flights of stairs in sweltering heat (#firstworldproblems) and thinking I was going to have a complete meltdown. With no one helping the task seemed never-ending, and I remember walking down Commonwealth Ave., trying not to burst into tears, while dialing her number.
“It’s so hot, and I’m so overwhelmed, and I don’t have time to do this, and I’m freaking out…” I rambled.
She knew exactly what to say:
“Molly, calm down…get something to eat. What’s around you?” she asked.
“Q–do–baaaaa,” I choked.
“Okay, go have a taco,” she said. “You’ll feel better!”
I’m cracking up remembering this, but who else but a mom would know that in times of stress sometimes the only thing you need to make you feel better is a taco?! I ended up finishing the move by myself with few problems. Was it fun? No. But I got through it and I was proud of myself for being able to handle it alone.
The thing is, my mom never would have let me even think about doing that move by myself if she knew I couldn’t handle it. Everything from organizing my stuff to figuring out the logistics of shipping, storing, etc. were new to me, but in giving me that chance to succeed at something like moving on my own, she made me confident in a life skill I hadn’t yet cultivated. I’ve noticed many parents these days put so much emphasis on education and success in sports, music, etc. that my generation is full of kids who are world oboe champs but have no idea how to pay a bill or open a checking account. This moving story is only one of many examples of times my mom exercised what I consider excellent parenting–giving me all the tools to succeed and then letting me figure out how to navigate on my own.
When I think about my mom, smaller, day-to-day things come to mind, too. I always, always think of her when I see a goofy pen with a giant flower on the end of it because she used to send me things like that in care packages at school. By the end of my senior year I had a pretty awesome collection of pens. It looked like it could have belonged to a 12-year-old, which is to say it was a pretty baller collection.
Every one of my pairs of fuzzy socks is from my mom. Who buys those for themselves, really? Seriously? It’s a simple concept–super-soft socks are the bomb, and for some reason, my mom knows I love them and will never purchase them on my own. Every time I look at my sock drawer and see them I think of all the times she must have been in TJ Maxx or Target and thought, “Molly would like these!” It makes me realize that I’m always somewhere close to the front of the mind, and it makes me think she must really love me.
Switching gears a bit–I was just thinking about this the other day: it’s easy to love someone when things are going great, but it’s harder when times are tough. College for me was (thanks again, parents!) four years of perfection. Just fun moment after fun moment. I don’t recall ever being truly unhappy at BU.
What I didn’t anticipate was how difficult it would be to “come down” from that high. Leaving college and entering the “real world” has not been a piece of cake for me. In fact, it’s been a downright tough adjustment. All I can say is, my mom has done more than her fair share of supporting (financially, emotionally) to make this transitional time as easy as possible for me. Everything from helping me out with living situations to spending hours with me on the phone discussing career choices have been so commonplace that I must admit I’ve begun to take them for granted. Have a problem with a job? Call my mom. Don’t know what to do about XYZ? Call my mom. Boy problems? Call her. Mental breakdown #4,535 over all these issues? She always answers. ALWAYS. And I am just now realizing I rarely thank her for being so available.
Actually, now that I think about it, if my mom charged as much as a therapist, I’m pretty sure she’d be a zillionaire.
If I had to compare my mom to anything, it would be one of those giant nets below a tightrope or trapeze artists. I am able to do amazing things, have a fun, colorful life and rarely worry because she is always there to catch me if and when I fall. I know she had her own worries and concerns–but the fact that she prioritizes me and my sister over all else is a gift I wish every child could experience.
Thank you, mommy, and Happy Mother’s Day. I hope this scratches the surface of what you mean to me. ❤