Yesterday, four of my closest friends celebrated their first Mother's Day. Here's a shout out to Megan (baby Samantha, born June 2006), Amy (baby Niclas, born August 2006), Chris (baby Samuel, born November 2006), and Colleen (baby Megan, born April 2007). How great is that? Love you guys.
I spent yesterday thinking about my mom, who I love more fiercely than I can begin to tell you. My mom and I have always been ridiculously close. She was only 22 (nearly 23) when I was born, I was her second and last child. The baby. The girl. She has made me feel special and loved every day of my life. She's a blunt woman, not one who sugar coats things, but I always thought her candor was for my own good. (And looking back, I so hope I'm not delusional.) She shared her fabulous music taste with me, encouraged me to be a voracious reader, and gave me my uber-nerdy love of Sci-Fi.
In thinking about all the things my mom means to me, I can't help but think about all of the negative aspects of her life. The poor woman has had some trials. She was the third of six children and lost her mom to cancer when she was just 13 years old. Her dad was a deadbeat, and that's stating it kindly. He pretty much abandoned 5 of his 6 children (all under 18) when his wife died. And when he was around, well, he might as well not have been.
My mom had my brother Chris when she was just 17. She was alone, uneducated, and seemingly destined for a really lousy life. She's such a trooper, you guys. She got an apartment with her sister and worked her way out of poverty. Eventually, she got a good job at a local factory. For the first time in her life she had money enough where she could provide for herself, and of course, her son. When she was 21, she met my dad. As I told you before, they married a month later. He was recently divorced and had 10 and 11 year old boys. Nine months later, I was born. And our family was complete.
I grew up thinking that family was the most important thing. We were a collective. United. Always looking out for each other. In particular, I always felt protective of my mom. I remember when I had heard a woman say something revolting about her, I flew off the handle. I told her she was a horrible person and would never be welcome in my family's home again. I was 16, and obviously opinionated. When my eldest brother was preparing to remarry, his wife-to-be (who is one of the worst people I know) told him not to invite my mom because she wasn't his real mom and she was a white-trash factory worker. (As I said before, my mom's been his step-mom since he was 11 and his mother passed away when he was 19.) I railed at my brother, told him how terrible he was to a woman who had sacrificed for him, and always offered him love without trying to replace his mom. I also said I would not be part of a wedding where my mom was being disrespected for no reason. Fortunately he offered my mom a sincere apology, so the situation was temporarily resolved.
I am still my mom's biggest fan. (Don't mess with her, man. I so mean it.) Now that I'm married and thinking about my own future, I hope that I can continue to build her up and advocate for her. She's such a good person and she doesn't even realize it. And I hope, if the situation arises, someone in my life will advocate for me.
I love you, mom. Happy Mother's Day.