Since today is Mother's Day, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to write a little shout-out to all the women in my life who have shown me what it means to be a mom. This Mom's Day is especially especial because I'm about to become a mom myself, and I have been doing a lot of thinking (and let's be honest..a little freaking out) about the great responsibility that lies ahead. But if you read on you'll realize (as I do) that I am in no shortage of some pretty darn amazing examples.
Of course I've got to start with the Original Super-Mom, numero-uno, the queen, my main lady, my Mom. Really I could write a book about how wonderful my Mom is, so somehow mentioning her on my little ole blog seems not quite enough. My mom is hands down amazing, and pretty much the sweetest person you'll ever know. Besides bringing me into this world (which I am gaining a whole new appreciation for) she did an amazing job raising me as a single parent from the time I was 9. I'm not sure if I went through The Terrible Twos, but I know for certain that I went through the Terrible Teens. Some of my many antics during this time included scaring off all of my mom's boyfriends, and driving her take so much Tylenol she should have bought stock in the company. I had to leave the country in order for her to meet and fall in love with my uber-sweet step dad, and I thank my lucky stars I didn't get in the way of that one. How anyone could come out the other end of that phase loving me more than ever still completely blows me away. And it is not just the big things she's done for me that knock my socks off, it is the things she does for me on a daily basis too. Last week she helped me clean and organize my entire house (trust me friends, it needed it). She vacuumed, dusted, cooked meals, and helped me wade through piles of all my embarrassing clutter, and then at the end of her stay she thanked ME for letting her help. That's just the kind of person she is. She is so giving to the people she loves, and is completely selfless and tireless about it.
Then there's my Mother in Law. I've loved this lady ever since I was 3. She was my preschool teacher and I was in love with her before I fell in love with her son (that only took another 14 years). My dad used to do interviews with me using our tape recorder and once when he asked me what I loved most about preschool I said it was her. I was pretty smart back then, because I still love her as much today if not more. One thing I love most about my mom-in-law is her ability to make everyone feel welcome in her home. When I was dating her son, my own super mom was going back to college and working so there were times when I was kind of on my own. I was welcomed to hang out at their house after school, there was always room for me at the dinner table, and sometimes there would be other people there too (as well as my hubby, his dad, and the other 4 kids in their family). Pretty amazing if you ask me.
The next mom figure that I encountered in my life was my Dutch Mom, or Moeder as I call her. She was my mom when I lived in Holland for a year, and I really do consider her one of my moms. Before we met I spent a good amount of time trying to imagine what she would be like as I'd left my hometown without even seeing a picture
of my future Dutch parents. I'll never forget driving up to their house and seeing her stand in the doorway. I felt like I had always known her. When I was trying to learn Dutch she was my patient teacher and never tired of correcting my poor grammar. She taught me that I could remember the word for Mother (Moeder) because the first part of the word "moe" means "tired" in Dutch. And it was easy to see how she'd be tired with 4 of her kids at home plus Pops (my dear host father),and then me and all of my aforementioned school-skipping and inability to communicate for the first few months of living with them. Add to that list an amazing garden to tend to, house work, helping my Dutch sibs with their homework, volunteering, taking care of her mother, and cooking meals worth of mention in Bon Apetit magazine. But with Moeder there is always time for fun, and we have had so much of it together over the years. On hot afternoons she'd drop everything to take us to the beach, and most nights at the dinner table most of us would be in tears from laughing so hard together. This lady works as hard as she plays, and loves even harder. She really lives life to the fullest and I admire that so much.
And of course there are my grandmas. Both worthy again of a much longer tribute. I've been super lucky to be close to these two ladies my entire life. I grew up spending summer weeks at their houses when my parents were working and I was out of school. Now they both live in the same retirement community and even eat dinner together every night. My grandmas are both very different people with different ways of showing their love for their kids and grandkids (when I was little I used to call one of them my Sewing Grandma and the other my Talking Grandma). But one thing they do have in common is their strength, they are both very strong minded ladies who refuse to stop being happy. In their collective 182 years on this earth they have seen their fair share of difficulty, lost their soul mates, and have seen their own children and grandchildren battle illness and tragedy. But they've also seen an equal amount of joy, and will be the first to tell you what a pleasure their lives are and how happy they are to be in this very moment. You've got to love that, and if I am lucky enough to make it into my 90s I hope to be the same way.
If all this wasn't enough I also have 5 incredible aunts and a wonderful step-mom to boot, add to that all of my same-age pals who each do a wonderful job as moms and I pretty much have an All Star Team of Moms to look to for advice, inspiration, and courage before I step up to the plate myself. Happy Mother's Day to you all!