When I was younger, I used to think I had the best mom ever. She seemed to offer more than the other moms I'd seen on the market. She always caved to my requests for McDonald's and bought me Guess jeans when it really counted. Despite our relatively tiny living space, my friends always wanted to gather at our place, where we could watch TV, play games and heat up bagel bites at will. As I grew older, I realized I didn't have the best mom because she bought me stuff or let me do things. I realize now it's more about what she didn't do. She didn't try to control me or tell me how to be. She let me discover who I was, for better or for worse, she let me make my own mistakes and express myself in whatever way I saw fit... that day or week. I can only imagine how hard it is to let your child learn her own lessons, to find her own way, and be... different—especially when accompanied by healthy doses of adolescent arrogance. In honor of my mom's birthday (today), I made a short list of all the ways my mom was, and continues to be, an awesome mom, and for which I'm incredibly grateful. Happy birthday and thanks mom!!!
- she let me dye my hair whatever color I wanted, even if it meant getting green food coloring all over the bathroom sink and was immortalized in my 7th grade school photo
- she drove me to hockey practice at 6am before we both had full days of school ahead of us, and never complained, even though i did
- she let my brother and i listen to any music we wanted, even if it included lots of swearing, and muffled her guilt-ridden laughter when we screamed Prince's "you sexy mother fucker!!" out the car window
- she ordered me a whole thin crust cheese pizza every time i recovered from a migraine, which unfortunately happened a lot, and it became our little tradition, which i treasured
- she kept her nails just long enough so she could scratch my back before i went to sleep, but not so long that she looked like a diner waitress
- she'd tell the waiters at restaurants that i was vegetarian before i could even open my mouth, and then she'd apologize when i'd scold her for speaking for me
- she didn't rub it in my face when i went from plugging my ears and singing "la la la la" whenever she played Willie Nelson, to being a superfan
- she dropped off my bass guitar at my school every day i had band so i didn't have to carry it
- she didn't stop correcting my homework even though it nearly always ended in me crying and screaming, "but i want it that way!"
- she never embarrassed me (on purpose) and always respected my privacy
- she encouraged me to laugh—during moments of surprise, happiness, failure, fun, whenever... except in doctors' waiting rooms, that was a no no
- she trusted me to take the bus downtown by myself because she knew that having that freedom meant the world to me
- instead of punishing me for losing or breaking things, she let me feel the effects, like playing a Game Gear with sticky 7up-soaked buttons
- she took my friends and me to concerts because their parents wouldn't let them go otherwise, and she sat at the back while we moshed and crowd-surfed, and she always had a good time
- she worked full time and never said a word about it, even when we complained that we wanted to see her more
- when i was twelve, i asked her to rent me the movie Kids and when she brought it home she said the guy at the video store warned it wasn't age-appropriate, so to let her know if i had any questions
- she took me bra shopping even though i clearly didn't need one
- she let my brother and i hash it out, which i think eventually lead to us being best friends
There are so many things, and if I think about all the things I appreciate about her now, the list just keeps going, but I'm nearly positive I never thanked her when I was a kid, probably for anything.
This is my small way letting you know I noticed, and I still think you're the best—mother and friend!
(ps. I know she'll read this because she's also my biggest
stalker fan :))