I guess I'm just lucky though. For every single day of my life, even when I didn't realize it (teenagers are the worst), I've had the same best friend- my Mom. One year, when I was really little, for my birthday my parents got me a Playskool Kitchen, which I had been begging for all year. It was one of those really cool ones with a fake stove and cabinets that opened. I'll never forget it- I unwrapped the present and I was so excited. And as months went by, I barely played with it. Sure, I loved it and I was ecstatic to own it. But for my entire childhood, I could usually be found within a 10 foot radius of my Mom. I would tag along anywhere, do anything with her simply because she was my favorite. She was like my own personal Super Hero. In the eyes of that little 5-year-old, no toy could possibly compare to the awesomeness of her Mom. Nearly 20 years later, I still feel the exact same way.
When I was younger, I don't think I realized just how lucky I was (and am) to have such a great relationship with my Mom. After going off to college, I started to notice the different relationships my friends have with their parents and Moms in particular. It shocked me that everyone didn't call their parents everyday. I will be the first to admit that I have no barometer for what's normal in dealing with parents as an adult- I talk to my Mom at least once a day. Usually multiple times. Does that make me a freak? MAYBE. But whatever. That's my normal! I now realize that I am extremely lucky to have a Mom that I want to talk to multiple times a day. A lot of people don't have that.
I think it's probably a shock to most people that this tattooed, dark haired mess of a human came out of a blonde, former high school cheerleader and Homecoming Queen. Even though appearances would dictate that I'm the absolute opposite of my Mom, nothing could be further from the truth. She has always sought to understand and support my interests- even suffering through car rides during which I insisted we listen to The Used with the volume on high and sang along at the top of my lungs. During this same phase, she also let me put red streaks in my hair even though it looked absolutely awful. (In hindsight, maybe that was a hair mistake you could have saved me from, Mom.) She has since spent endless hours on the phone with me as I cry to her because of stupid boys, work, friends, life confusion, being homesick or any combination of the five. (Also, sometimes I call her to cry because my gay didn't win Project Runway, but that's legally required of all Moms, right?) It's easy to take all of that for granted. She does it all without even asking for a thank you. However, sometimes it's nice to show appreciation for one of the humans that brought you into existence on a day that isn't Mothers Day. (When is that by the way? Anyone know?)
I've compiled a little list of some of the things I would like to thank my Mom for- and if you're as lucky as I am, they're probably things you should thank your Mom for, too.
1. Thank you for teaching me that it's okay to cry when I'm sad, get shaky out when I'm nervous and feel scared when facing big life decisions.
2. Thank you for giving me the strength to push through all of that sadness, nervousness and fear, no matter how impossible it might seem.
3. Thank you for making me watch all those old Christian Slater movies. (Such a babe.)
4. Thank you for giving me the freedom to indulge in my own creativity.
5. Thank you for encouraging me to chase after my dreams, no matter how large they might be.
6. Thank you for listening for hours on end as I over-analyze every aspect of my life and always giving me the best advice.
7. Thank you for always telling me I'm beautiful even when I wake up in the morning and look like a monster.
8. Thank you for teaching me how to properly apply makeup. (That is, only after allowing me to smear lipstick all over my face at an inappropriately awesome young age. The photographic evidence of this phase is pretty great.)
9. Thank you for raising me to be a feminist and a liberal.
10. Thank you for showing me that wearing glasses can be cool.
11. Thank you for telling me "no" when I needed to hear it.
12. Thank you for believing in me when I don't believe in myself.
13. Thank you for cultivating a really amazing group of family friends that have after years, become family.
14. Thank you for raising me listening to musicals. (I think I was the only 10-year-old running around gleefully singing Miss Saigon.)
15. Thank you for sharing your dressing room mirror with me for all of those years.
16. Thank you for turning me on to the best TV shows. (Eternally grateful for Downton Abbey.)
17. Thank you for relentlessly pushing me to become the best version of myself.
18. Thank you for teaching me that there is no shame in apologizing.
19. Thank you for choosing cool names for your kids, even if I really hated all the Carmen San Diego references when I was a kid.
20. Thank you for allowing me to define happiness for myself and define myself for myself.
21. Thank you for every single time you've made me laugh to the point of tears.
22. Thank you for sharing your passion for cooking and baking with me.
23. Thank you for giving me a childhood full of memories, trips and adventures.
24. Thank you for not wearing Mom jeans.
25. Thank you for creating (with the help of Dad) the weirdest, funniest, most loving family in the world.
I have about a million other things to thank my Mom for, but that list is a nice start. I mean, mainly just the Mom jeans thing- really, really HUGE thank you on that one. Love you, Madre.
PS- If you missed it, a while back I did a little Happy Birthday post for my Dad in which I articulate why he's pretty rad, too. I'm an equal opportunity parent appreciation blogger.