Obviously, this Mother's Day holds special meaning for me, since it's the first I'll be able to officially celebrate. Last Mother's Day, I was a mother, but in a different way. L was comfy-cozy in my tummy, and way lower maintenance than he is today.
But it is also really special to me because this is the first Mother's Day that has allowed me to look at my own mom and love and appreciate her in an entirely different sense. So I'd like to take advantage of this opportunity to write a little tribute to her. (And I'm not even sucking up or anything because my mom is so busy that she doesn't always get time to read my blog. But I can rest assured that whenever I spell out a swear or say something potentially offensive, that will be the time my mom thinks, "Hey, I should really check in on Katie's blog." Just like the ONE time she watched Saved By The Bell with me and my brother was when Zack got seduced by the slutty nurse, so then she decided the show was inappropriate and wouldn't let us watch it anymore, thereby depriving me of an entire genre of my generation's pop culture.)
This is the year that I can truly appreciate what my mom went through to bring me into this world. I was what my mom fondly refers to as a "buffalo baby" - meaning that I was rather large. When I was born I tipped the scales a smidge short of 10 lbs. My parents were in Germany at the time, as my dad was in the Air Force. My mom had me in a hospital located on an air base (read: not the height of medical technology). And she labored with me for 21 hours. Without an epidural. Before they finally did a c-section. Yeah, you should see the picture of her holding me afterwards. She looks like she's ready to smack the camera out of my dad's hands.
This is the year that I can truly appreciate what my mom went through trying to breastfeed me. Breastfeeding is hard, plain and simple. I was a humongo baby and my mom's supply couldn't keep up with me, so they switched to bottle feeding. She loves to tell me the story of how I was the fussiest baby in the world until finally
This is the year that I can truly appreciate what it felt like for my mom to be alone with me in Mississippi while my dad was stationed in Saudi Arabia. I have a hard enough time with D working nights; I can't begin to imagine what it would be like for me to be on my own with L for months at a time in a state that is far away from all my friends and family, while D was in some other country.
This is the year that I can truly appreciate how hard it was for my mom to have to leave me with a sitter all day while she went to work because she and my dad couldn't make ends meet with only one job. I'm not sure how I would feel if I picked L up after work and he was speaking Spanish to me because his daycare lady was Mexican. On the one hand, it would be cute. But on the other hand, I'm pretty sure it would yank the crap out of my heartstrings to feel like my child was being raised by some other woman, so much so that he was turning into a different nationality before my very eyes. Also, I think it would be rather frustrating to speak a different language than your toddler.
This is the year that I can truly appreciate how much my mom wanted to slap me when I'd ask what was for dinner and, no matter what she said, I'd answer, "Awwwwww man." D is quickly learning that an answer bearing any resemblence to this is rewarded with the Do It Again, I Dare You look, aka Look of Death.
This is the year that I can truly appreciate that, just because you think your yearly income sounds like a lot of money, does not actually make it a lot of money. I remember many a times telling my parents that they were rich (and secretly meaning, "Why don't you spend more money on buying me expensive clothes, this is bordering on neglect.") and my parents would be like "Trust me, this is NOT a lot of money." And now I know. They were right. Again.
But really, this is the year that I can truly appreciate my mom outside the lens of "my mom". She is a wife and a mother, and works hard to excel in both tasks. She works tirelessly at her job, and has taught me that it is possible to have both a satisfying job and a tightknit family, if I want to have both. She has taught me that there is no shame in working hard to support your family, even though sometimes all you want to do is cuddle up with your baby and stay home watching The Price is Right.
I know through her eyes, she has many faults. And for sure our relationship is not perfect. We still fight and have disagreements. And all too often, I revert back to my role as "petulant child" and give my mom my worst, saving my best for the less deserving people I encounter in my day.
But truly, as cliche as this is, she is my best friend. I mean that with all my heart. There is no one who understands me like her. She is one of the very first people I want to call with news, and she is one of the handful of people I actually enjoy speaking to on the phone. (I hate the phone. I have a weird mutated gene or something.) She truly believes with all her heart that I should have my writing published, which I think makes her my biggest fan. She is the best. I'm glad God picked her to be my mom. (And I'm sure I'm shocking no one when I say that I'm tearing up a bit over here.)
Mom, I love your guts.