To My Mom, For All You've Taught Me

Dear Mom,

There have been many, many cheesy and sugar-sweetened sayings about mothers circling through my Facebook newsfeed as of late. I look at them, trying to find one, just one that perfectly encapsulates you, Mom, and all that you’ve done for me and for our family. At this point, I’d even settle for one that doesn’t make me gag a little when I read it.

None of them are sufficient, however. I don’t think that any single saying ever could be as comprehensive as this particular occasion merits. Why? Because, you, Mom, are so much more than a simple cliche of motherhood written by someone who does not know you.

Mom, I don’t have a single memory of my childhood that isn’t tinged with love from you. You, who were always there - for basketball games way back when, school musicals, birthdays, graduations, sad times, bad times. You have taught me that love is in the showing up and being there, for the days and weeks and years that add up into a lifetime.

You have wrapped me up in a home with love and faith and laughter bursting out the windows. You have shown me the joys and the struggles of loving and being loved by those you call your family. You have taught me that it’s more important to live your life with the chaotic kindness of the everyday than in the neatly ordered rows we take out when company comes.

You have taught me how to find work that doesn’t always feel like it - work that uplifts others and you in the process. I know now that it is okay to work hard and long hours and not always like it, but still come home at the end of the day with a smile in your eyes. You have shown me your passions and they are so much more than your just your job.

You help me to be practical when I have my head caught up in daydreams. You have taught me to always keep tissues in my purse because tears in happy times and sad times sneak up when you are too busy to notice them knocking on the front door. You have taught me to make phone calls for myself and to learn how to ask questions at doctor’s appointments. You taught me in the way you always fold laundry in perfect piles, neat and precise, smoothing over the corners when they’ve gotten a little bit lumpy.

You are the voice of my conscience inside of my heart, guiding me towards choices that make the world a little better or, at the very least, are better for me overall. You direct me in both big and little choices whether you know it or not.

You have taught me that love means doing the hard thing - that sometimes, the hardest conversations we may ever have are the only ones that will strengthen our relationships with others and force us, however unwillingly at the time, to grow and prosper. Love means staying up late to help you finish a project you should have started working on weeks before. Love means waking up early the next morning to see my siblings off to school before heading to work. Love is driving 297 miles to see me in the middle of the week just to wrap me in your arms as only you can when all I need is to be reminded that I am loved.

Mom, you are my relentless cheerleader, my best editor, my movie-watching partner, and my best friend. You are all these things that I have mentioned and so much more than I can even comprehend. To be quite simplistic, this is my thank you and all of my love.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Jenna :)