After 30 years she is still taking care of me.
I am my momma's second child, first daughter. She had me when she was 23. Epidurals did not exist at Magic Valley Regional Medical Center that day. I came out with orange hair and they called me their little orangutan.
Pretty sure I was instantly attached to her...at least as far back as I can remember I didn't like it if she was out of my sight. I remember being brave and trying not to cry if she had to drop me off somewhere or I had to be babysat but I missed her terribly the whole time she was gone and I can remember the instant relief I felt when I saw her reappear to get me. Growing up, my Dad's side of the family like to rouse me about it and actually be pretty mean to me about being a Momma's girl...but I think there are worst things to be.
When I was little my mom would color with me. I was always in awe at her beautiful pictures. She colored better than anyone in the world. I soon learned to copy her technique of first outlining the picture with a darker line of coloring and then shading in the rest a little lighter. Turns out beautifully every time. I use that technique to this day.
My mom's lap was my favorite landing spot. When I was really little she had a rocking chair. I ended lots of days curled up in her lap rocking. She was always willing to let me climb up in her lap and read me a story. I don't know how many requests I had a day for a story but I am sure it got to be an overwhelming amount but she never let on...unless she was cooking then she would tell me to go ask Dad. Dad was always willing too but he always read faster and more hurried(I still liked it though), my mom would take her time. If I didn't tower over and outweigh my mom now, I am pretty sure I would still sit in her lap when I could.
When I was in Kindergarten I got the chicken pox. My mom took work off and we made a trip to the library and got the biggest stack of books I had ever seen. We spent many days reading through that stack of books and giving me oatmeal baths. Whenever I was sick my mom was extra tender. Her hand petting my forehead is a vivid memory and there are not many more things that are more comforting than that.
From 2nd through 8th grade my mom was the coach of my softball team. She was passionate about it and she would definitely get into it...a few umpires might remember her vividly questioning their calls...but she definitely would not stand for us to yell at them;) I believe we won the championships every year but twice. We were pretty awesome and had so much fun on the field. Love those memories. In 1993 she coached right up until she was in labor and had my little brother Jake. At the same time, I was on the field playing a game. I hit a home run that game...that is for you Jake...(kissing my two fingers and pointing to the outfield).
My Mom would always try her best to give me whatever I wanted, but also taught me that I cannot always have the things I want. Despite not having a large income, I never really felt like I had to go without. My mom would always find a way to get me what I needed but also what I wanted. She could care less about what everyone else had or was doing but when she knew something was really, really important to me (cough *Big Dog T-Shirt that everyone in 6th grade was wearing, yes I went to a ghetto school*cough) she would find a way to make it happen. I came home one day to a brand new Big Dog T-Shirt...which I promptly stained the next day. Stain or no stain, that shirt elevated my popularity status (whether that is true or not my 6th grade brain does not know the difference).
My mom is not into fashion, shopping, hair-doing, make-uping, etc. BUT...she would braid or curl my hair for me. She was all about modesty and comfort. She would never allow anything without sleeves or anything above the knee. She was never worried about keeping me in style or spending fortunes on jeans...those are things she told me that if I desired I would have to find a way to pay for them myself. I quickly learned that other things were more important to me as well. Looking back at pictures I am sure I probably could have cared maybe a little bit more;) but I am also happy that she taught me those things don't matter and I have carried that with me through out my life. I don't have to have the burden of "things" defining who I am or determining my self-worth. Despite my need for Osh-Kosh overalls in 1st grade and that Big Dog Shirt in 6th grade...name brands have never meant anything to me...and I directly credit that to my mom.
My mom is smart, smart, smart. I am pretty sure she knows everything...and she always wins Jeopardy. She was always willing to help me with homework and thinking back on it now she was very patient in explaining concepts to me. This is something I am lacking majorly. I find I am often frustrated over Carter's homework and if he doesn't grasp something I spelled out for him. I definitely need to learn a thing or two from my mom on this subject. This is probably why she is an amazing teacher and has been voted several times as "Teacher of the Year" from her students.
As I got older and became a teenager, as I would walk out the door to go out with friends my mom would always exclaim, "Remember who you are!!" or "Return with honor!". She let me know her expectations for me and expected me to live up to them. She instilled upon me and impressed upon me the importance of having standards and morals and living up to the "For Strength of Youth". Anything less was unacceptable. Despite me sometimes making choices to the contrary, I always kept those expectations in the front of my mind. If ever I made a bad choice it was because I was missing my frontal lobe and not because my momma didn't raise me right. ;)
I could go on and on and on. As I have become a mother myself I realize how much my mom sacrificed and gave of herself purely for my health and happiness (and that of my siblings). Driving me hundreds of miles over the years to all the places I wanted to go, giving up her interests for mine, supporting me in my endeavors, grounding me and making me miserable to teach me a lesson(though I know now that keeping miserable kids in the house is way more of a burden on the parent than the selfish child), sitting in the audience of many plays, recitals, and events; listening to enough whiny and complaining to single-handedly power the sewage plant, cooking dinner night after night after night to often hear me say, "yuck, I don't want that!"...ugh I would not have blamed her if she popped me in the mouth but she never did; Giving up hours and hours of sleep.
My poor, poor mom. She rarely had the opportunity for a nap...but when she did she would tell us little ones to please play quietly or watch a movie while she rested. Why, oh why could we not do this one thing for her? WHY? Inevitably we would do exactly the opposite of what she asked. I don't remember it ever being intentional or planned but somehow we just got into trouble as soon as she closed her eyes. We broke things, made super sonic loud crashes and bangs, beat each other up until we were screaming, spilled anything liquid that stains, or had questions that could not go another minute without being answered by mom. Poor, poor mom. She was usually very patient but these are the moments that got the best to her and she would fling the bedroom door open and grab the fly swatter and as we scattered in all directions. I don't blame her one bit. She should have tied us down on our beds and locked our bedroom doors until she could get at least 30 minutes of shut eye. We just couldn't be trusted.
To this day she is still taking care of me, while I am learning to take care of my own babies. I am thankful that motherhood has opened my eyes to all that my mom did and continues to do for me. There is just never ending love and I am always in awe at what my mom so willingly does for me. She is such a blessing. I am spoiled rotten, so lucky to her have her. I hope and pray I get her for many more years. She is my rock and I still need her today.
Thank you so much Mom. There will never be anything I can say or do to repay you or come close to doing what you have done for me...but you know that because you are a mom who also has an angel mom. It is just something we do.
(I don't have access to all of the pictures taken over our lifetime...so I will need to update this post once I can get my hands on them.)