Hands-down, the hardest part of living far away from “home” is missing the family get-togethers, especially at holidays.
We’ve always stood by our vow to never miss a Christmas with the family in Indiana, but that means that we can be hit-or-miss for any other holidays throughout the year. We miss countless birthdays, Thanksgivings, 4th of July celebrations by the pool, and most recently, Mothers’ Day.
Growing up, we would honor my mom with her own version of a “perfect day” — taking her out to brunch followed by several hours at the flower shop, watching her giddily comb the aisles in search of the perfect additions for her garden. Sadly, now, I can’t remember the last time I spent this day with my mom or grandmother, celebrating them for shaping me into the woman I’ve become.
Raising me certainly couldn’t have been easy — a strong-willed and opinionated individual from the start, I know I gave both of my parents plenty of difficult moments and trying times. However, I like to think that many of the times my mom and I have butted heads over the years are a result of us being too similar. We share the same stubborn nature, the same hot-button temper, and the same conviction that we always know best. For the record, Mom, you were usually (usually!) right. 😉
As I’ve grown older and wiser, my mom has truly become one of my best friends and truest confidantes, a role she played early on without my even knowing it. I spent many a tearful night in grade school and all the way through my teenage years, being comforted by my mom as I shared my woes of being bullied by the “mean girls” I had thought were my friends. Looking back, I know these growing pains were as hard on my mom as they were on me, and it probably took all of her strength not to go find those girls and give them a piece of her mind. Other times, she didn’t hold back. Usually, I was left to fight my own battles, which surely made me a stronger person, but when push really came to shove, my mother had my back. She wasn’t one of those mothers who thought that her kid was perfect and caused a scene when someone was hard on her little girl, but she was my biggest advocate when I really needed her. I can remember a certain incident in the guidance counselor’s office where I learned, from my mother’s example, how to firmly stand up for myself when I know I’ve been wronged.
While I know that our busy schedules and the 2-hour time difference do not give me enough opportunities to call home as often as I would like, the conversations with my mom always brighten my day. Whether we are talking about farm cats and puppy behavior or real issues in our lives, it truly is like getting on the phone with the best kind of old friend — the kind where you can just pick up where you left off. My mom’s vested interest in the events of my life never wavers, and I can always count on her to dispense valuable advice. It’s strange how similar my adult path has been to hers, even if it might not look like it at first glance, and she has the ability to look back on her own experiences and help me through my own bumps and challenges.
Mom, I know you worry about me, especially since you don’t have the immediate ability to come in and save me on a moment’s notice, but I hope you sleep soundly knowing that you have given me the wisdom, the strength and the courage I need to get through anything.
Happy Mothers’ Day, I love you!