When I was younger and still just as much a nerd as I am today, I used to sneak into the bathroom after bed time and read sitting on the ground beside the toilet. My butt would go numb, my eyes a little droopy, but I couldn’t quit till I finished that damn book. As I grew older and would be late getting ready for functions because I was finishing “just one more chapter,” it reached the point where my mother would open the door on me in the bathroom (CHILD ABUSE I SAY!) or take my book away from me until I was ready. She’d shake her head as my Father could be heard in the background “Oh really? It’s annoying? WHO DO YOU THINK SHE GETS IT FROM.” My bunions, my tendency to be “there in 5 minutes” when it’s really 15, and my love of the written word all comes from that woman who popped me out of her. On this day of celebration, it’s only right to look back at some of what she’s taught me along the way.
- Sometimes, it’s okay to flick off the day.
Second grade for me wasn’t Lisa Frank, glitter pens and pigtails. One, that color combination of rainbows and Unicorns was too much for my Tomboy persona to handle. Two, my teacher was too busy telling me that I hold pens wrong…thus ruining any hope of a future with chopsticks…for me to get crazy with my pen choice. And lastly, we’ve discussed my curls. Pigtails? Really? Let’s just throw those on my braces & four-eyes for kicks. While it had its high points, second grade could be a bitch. And so could my friends and I. I was 3-way called even before Mean Girls made that shit popular, and was passed a note while watching “School of Rock” that said “even my mom who’s a hairdresser couldn’t cut your hair.” (please refer back to pigtails note). I remember one day coming back from a particularly rough day in my second grade world and I was crying to my mom in the car. She pulled into the garage, parked the car and started sweetly singing in my ear, “Cassidy, Cassidy, her friends are …Assidy’s.” I looked up in shock, tears still streaking my face. My mother NEVERRRR swore. “Pissed” and “shut up” included. Despite the fact that I have a mouth like a trucker now a-days, resulting in me answering “only if she buys me dinner first” when people ask, “you kiss your mother with that mouth?,” looking back now I’m not sure if it taught me to laugh at myself, or if it’s to sometimes curse the day and know that it’s okay.
- Life’s a balancing act
You know the cliché, a child gets trapped under a car and a Mom, full of fury, lifts that SUV off her baby all in the name of love. While I was only dumb enough to get trapped under my brother who used to do half nelsons on me for “fun,” I still learned the power of strength from my Mama. The most obvious display? Carrying in the groceries. I don’t know if you fully appreciate this till you’re on your own and manhandling the bags of milk, eggs and bread. It’s a gentle balance between lifting weights and not smashing a decorated cake top. While some question why you don’t just make multiple trips to the car, I say who has that kind of time? And even more so if you’re in the city, you basically have one shot to lug it all upstairs. I would see my mom lift about 12 bags in her arms, dig the keys out of her purse, drop her phone (because it’s always the phone) and get inside long enough to yell “GROCERIES! COME HELP!….QUIT IGNORING ME” This woman is a brute and I’m sure she’s very appreciative right now that I’m painting a picture of her to be an amazon. (C’mon Nay, you wear that MILF badge proudly). Just to dig a bit deeper here, I’m clearly not just referring to her physical strength. One of my favorite quotes is, “There is nothing more powerful than a woman with an open heart.” She is our family’s rock. Steady and strong, allowing us to fly from and take comfort in the fact that we can always return to her, her arms open and ready. She’s the one I have to call in private on a bad day, because just a “hello,” is enough permission for me to unleash the waterworks as she soothes me through the phone. She’s the one I butt bump as we dance around the kitchen cooking and trying to hit the notes of “Don’t Rain On My Parade.” She’s middle man between my father and sister as they wedding plan, she’s my brothers proofreader (& sometimes author) of his 13 page essays, she’s the planner of family vacation, she’s the host with the most on the Fourth of July, Christmas Eve, birthdays. As she plays her many roles, she continues to give us all our strength. And also, obviously, the supplies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Contrary to the popular song, you don’t have to be “Cruel to be Kind”
On this day while everyone updates their twitter and Facebook with “My mom is the best. Better than yours. Our generation may give everyone a trophy, but seriously MY MOMS GETTING THE STANLEY CUP BITCHES,” it’s clear we’re not appreciative for only the big moments; their huge smiles at graduation, the first break up they held your hand through, for taking the blame when we’re playing victim. But also for the littlest of things; that extra $20 they would slip before you traveled back to school, the text that they send you when you visit California, “Don’t come back a hippie freak. Peace & love” (No? only me?), for putting up with us through moments like this ,this , & this or reminding us to be thankful for moments like this. Either way, I think one of the simplest acts that still resonates with me occurred around Christmas time, when we picked names off the Giving Tree from church. The families never asked for much, a gift certificate for Best Buy or groceries, just something to be able to give their house some of the magic that many of us are blessed to have every year. She had gotten a bunch of little kid’s wishes that year and bought some stuffed animals. While filling the stuffed animals with candy and tying the gift card on it, she would always proclaim it wasn’t much, just a little something extra to open on Christmas morning…I slowly began to realize the magnitude of a little. It’s that little that my mom continues to give over and over to me, to my sister and brother, to friends, family members and strangers that makes it to be SO MUCH. So much joy, laughter, love, compassion, healing, strength, humor, best friendship and Mommyisms that makes me hope with all my being that it’s not just her reading habits I’ve inherited, but that I can one day be half the mother and woman that she is.
Happy Mother’s day to all the Moms expecting, crazed with a full clan, keeping a watchful eye on us from the heavens above or simply basking in the love they should be receiving today!