Thank you, Mom . . .
For welcoming me into your life and giving me a safe place to grow and a family to love me.
For allowing me to stretch you—physically, emotionally, and mentally.
For being daring enough to breastfeed before it was cool.
For your tireless devotion in taking on the responsibility of having another human being entirely dependent on you for everything—all the time.
For being brave enough taking me halfway around the world so we could be with Daddy serving overseas, even though it meant you had geckos in your shower, a car with no floorboard, and you slept with a knife under your pillow—just in case. Your courage has shown me how to embrace the adventure of being a military wife.
For defending me when I was too young, small, inexperienced, or timid to do it for myself.
For looking my way and at least feigning interest when I said, “Mom! Watch this!” for the hundredth time (in the last hour).
For playing with me, coloring with me, and imagining with me.
For sitting patiently through all the plays, skits, and musicals we performed for you (with “commercials” and everything!)
For your willingness to be the last one to eat dinner so you could make sure everyone else was served well.
For all the meals you cooked, floors you vacuumed, clothes you bought, lessons you paid for, places you drove us, books you read, and laundry you washed.
For all the times you were more worried about me than I was about myself.
For not letting me get away with things that were not in my best interest.
For anticipating what I needed before I even figured it out myself.
For giving me the freedom to explore—in the woods, on my bike, down the beach.
For keeping me safe.
For being my first and favorite teacher.
For helping me with my homework.
For taking me out of school to learn in the laboratory of life, to travel, and to see a beached whale.
For saying no when it was hard but best.
For saying yes, even when it cost you to do so.
For continuing to serve me with compassion though I took you for granted and did not say thank you often enough.
For giving up some of your dreams so I could pursue mine.
For all the costumes and matching dresses you sewed—and all the ones you didn’t.
For cleaning my messes, kissing my owies, mending what I’d torn, and washing off the dirt.
For sacrificing day after day in big and small ways. They were not in vain.
For continuing to give, even when no one noticed or gave back.
For enjoying just being with me.
For pushing through when you were exhausted, persevering when you felt like quitting and hanging on when hope was frail.
For waiting with me in your car because there was a moose at my bus stop.
For attending all my parent-teacher conferences, dance recitals, music concerts, school plays, and yes, even the embarrassing basketball game (it’s NOT my sport!), and the humiliating tap dance (Did I really do that in public?!).
For letting me try, helping me learn from my failures, and encouraging me to get back up after I’d stumbled.
For answering all my endless questions, even when you weren’t sure of the answers yourself.
For being my best cheerleader, my biggest fan, and the wind beneath my wings.
For allowing your nest to be emptied, even though it was painful, so I could fly.
For waiting all weekend by the phone for me to call home from the Academy—even when the call never came.
For continuing to love me relentlessly despite the pain I caused you sometimes.
For taking care of my pets, even after I left home—not because you loved them, but because you loved me.
For allowing me the freedom to try, to live, to fail, to fly.
For understanding—even when you didn’t.
For every single time you prayed for me.
For saying, “It won’t always be this way” when I was a first-time mom, drowning in exhaustion and inexperience.
For loving your children and grandchildren across the miles, through the phone, and to any possible lengths.
For loving my children as much as I do.
For answering awkward questions from concerned friends about why your daughter has so many children and why on earth she chooses to homeschool them.
For making smoothies several times a day for my daughter while she recovered from oral surgery.
For matching socks from my “Lonely Sock Bin of Epic Proportions” every time you visit.
For making cookies, crafts, and the epic gingerbread houses with your grandchildren.
For immediately getting on a plane and flying all night to be with me when my son was born not breathing.
For driving me an hour away and pushing my wheelchair through the hospital every day for a week so I could visit my son in the NICU while my husband cared for our other children at home.
For all those sleepless nights when I was a hungry baby, a sick child, a teenager who was out late, and a new mother giving birth to your grandchild—again.
For hosting countless birthday parties, sleepovers, campouts, holidays, potlucks, and two weddings in five months for my sister and I.
For encouraging me to keep going when I thought I couldn’t.
For sharing my heritage with me—the stories of our family’s past.
For all the laughter we’ve shared in dressing rooms trying on swimsuits, especially when I had a nursing baby in tow.
For warning me to be careful every time you read the latest awful story in the news. I know it means you care.
For the countless times you put others’ needs above your own.
For liking all my Facebook posts—even the really dumb ones.
For helping me track down old photos when I need them.
For the way you plan and prepare for those special times when all 17 of us can gather around your table. You enable us to make wonderful memories together.
For the 16,532 gallons of mashed potatoes you have made for us over the years (especially for my boys). Nobody makes them like you do!
For questioning and challenging my ideas to help me make them take shape or discard them altogether.
For being willing to ask the hard questions and give the tough answers.
For your enduring support of my husband. You always love to watch him fly, hear his stories, and especially welcome him home.
For helping me move and make a different house a home—again.
For dropping everything and coming to my aid when I fell, or got stuck, or found myself in the dark night of life and didn’t know if I could go on.
For tackling the big projects with me so I didn’t have to face them alone.
For always knowing just the right gift to give someone to brighten their day or make their life a little easier.
For never quitting on me—even when I wanted to quit on myself.
For being real, honest, and open.
For your example of generosity, determination, hospitality, perseverance, service, and hard work.
For teaching us the value of family and home and demonstrating that when life gets tough, family sticks with each other no matter what.
For loving me in the midst of my imperfection, and loving me enough to push me to be my better self.
For hurting when I’m in pain, rejoicing when I’m happy, celebrating when I succeed, and holding me when I fail.
For just being you, my Mom. Thank you, Mom! I love you. Happy Mother’s Day.