Mothers are by no means perfect. They say things that hit just the right nerve without meaning to. They leave us at the grocery store after a long day. They forget something we just told them five minutes ago. And sometimes, they can even be a little embarrassing.
But they’re the ones who are there when our worlds fall apart and help us piece it back together even when their own hands are full. They’re the ones who will rock us to sleep when our minds are racing a hundred miles a minute over every little thing when they’ve worked an 11 hour day themselves. They’re the ones who encourage us to keep pursuing our dreams even if those dreams don’t make us the most money because they will always put our happiness first and they know money is a distant second from being happy. They are the ones who remind us that no matter what a guy (or girl) says to us, we are worthy of love and worthy of bright days and brighter eyes regardless of how they feel themselves.
At age 7, she bandaged both knees after I fell off my bike. She kissed the bandages while wiping my tears and never even let go of my hand.
At age 11, she was the first one I wanted when I came home crying because the bigger kids on the school bus were being mean. She hugged me so tight that every awful taunt the bullies threw at me left my mind and never looked back.
At age 16, she held me in her arms when the first boy I ever loved broke my heart, and she simply reminded me I was so much more than him with a whole life ahead of me.
At age 18, she carried me through the storm of my depression, even the lowest points, and kept my head above water when I felt like I was drowning. She was the one who told me that I was more than the mental illness that had affected my social life, my education, my everything.
At age 20, she let me curl up in bed with her as I cried, trying to mend yet another broken heart. She held my hand when the days came that I couldn’t stop thinking about him and shook me awake when I started to let it interfere with my self-worth.
For almost 21 years, I’ve been lucky enough to call my mother my best friend. She has been by my side through every twist and turn life threw at me and was never more than a phone call away. She filled my mailbox with “just thinking about you” notecards to get me through my first semester of college and sent me corny jokes to get me through the day. She’s been the only person to truthfully tell me how I look in new clothes regardless of how good I think I look in them. And no matter where we’re going, she’ll turn the radio up loud and sing along just as obnoxiously as I am because she knows that laughter is the best medicine.
She has a way of saying just the right thing to make me feel better and has no qualms in speaking her mind when she wants to. She goes out of her way to make sure I’m eating and always knows when I’m faking a smile. She carries herself with grace and strength and never hesitates to let me borrow a smile when I can’t seem to find my own. She holds her head high when someone or something irritates her and inspires me daily with her presence.
My mama and I have always had a strong bond. Since I left for college three years ago, however, it’s become increasingly stronger. She’s the first person I want to tell when something good happens and the first one I want near me when I’m having a bad day. And while I’ve always appreciated my biggest blessing in life, I think it took leaving home to realize everything she’s ever done for me and everything she sacrificed for mine and my brothers’ happiness. Every single canceled plan to spend time with us instead, every event/show/movie she attended because we wanted to, every gift she spent more money than usual on because she saw how happy it made us – it was all for us. She never worried about the money, the time, or the schedule because we were and still are her main priorities.
I don’t know if I could ever repay every second she’s given to me, but I hope I live a life she can be proud of…to know those seconds haven’t been wasted. I hope I grow up to be even half the woman she is, and one day, when the time is right, I hope I can be just as beautiful a mother.