It’s 8:30 a.m. on a Saturday. My boyfriend is asleep in bed, and so is his brother, in our spare room. My dog is resting on a blanket in the living room, and I’m in the kitchen – playing “Acoustic Chill” on the speaker, and I’m cutting up onions. Behind me there is a pot with oil in it, waiting for me to start cooking these onions. I’m making soup. It’s Saturday morning, and everyone is asleep, but I’m up making soup and listening to some good music. A thought hits me: Oh my goodness, I’ve become my mother. Then a second thought hits me: Would that really be the worst thing?
There Is Always Time
For a large portion of my life, my mom was a single mom. My dad wasn’t an active participant in my life, but he came around near the big events like Christmas, graduation, and the occasional Sunday when he was in town. My mom was supermom. She worked, went to school, and raised two kids who were 16 months apart. If she taught me anything (which she taught me tons), it was that you don’t let life make you a victim. Bad things happen to good people, and you can either cry about it or get the hell up and make something of yourself. Oh and there is always enough time in the day to kiss the ones you love ‘goodnight’.
My step dad came into the picture when I was 6 years old, which was life changing for me. Suddenly my mom seemed like a weight was lifted off of her. She still had a fiery personality (I doubt that will ever die), but she seemed as though someone had taken some burdens off her shoulders, and she could walk a little lighter now. He was a great father figure. He would take us on walks, and he always played hockey in the garage, or baseball in the street. He used to teach me how to build things in his wood shop, and would help me with my math homework – and let’s just say “Bless His Heart”, because there is a reason I’m not a math major.
My parents were awesome. My mom, my dad, and my step dad. My biological father wasn’t around a lot, but he was still around sometimes. I’ve spent enough time being sad about that – all I really have left is the time we did get together, and honestly, those times were pretty great.
Back to the soup – Some kids would wake up on Saturday morning to pancakes and bacon and eggs. I didn’t get that – Unless it was Christmas morning! Instead, I woke up to the smell of homemade soup, or homemade bread baking in the oven. Sometimes I’d wake up to the smell of my mom making spaghetti, which would be the BEST day ever! Anybody who has had my mom’s spaghetti sauce understands – it’s legendary. Her spaghetti sauce making was an entire day affair, she would start it early in the morning, and would finish minutes before it was dinner time. If you wanted spaghetti for dinner, you had better give her at least 48 hours notice, or she will give you a scowl and walk out of the room (likely to see if she could manage to pull it together for you). Again, my mom was a super hero.
I really appreciate my mom for not giving us Mr. Noodles for dinner, or telling us to fend for ourselves. Every single night, we would come home from school to dinner waiting for us. And it was always a full fledged meal – not just burgers. My mom made an effort to include a meat, a vegetable, a starch, and a grain in every meal. Yeah, I went from eating meat at least once a day, to being a vegan – Sorry mom! You tried your best!
It Could Be Worse
As I am getting older, I am catching myself do more and more things that remind me of my mother and I’m beginning to realize that turning out like my mother is the best that I could hope for, honestly. My mom always taught me to never let anybody treat me badly, and that my time and energy was worth more than gold – I don’t need to waste it on anybody. She taught me that I’m allowed to walk away from bad situations, and I’m allowed to say “no”. She taught me that homemade bread is 100% better than store-bought crap, and that a beer always tastes better by the fire. She taught me that if you should always carry a plastic baggy and some scissors, in case you see a plant that you want a
slip off of, and that houses aren’t homes without a few indoor plants.
My mom put me and my brother above everybody and anything in her life. We were her world. And when we got older, and had friends that turned into family, she did the same for them. If I have half of the heart or dedication that my mother has, I will be happy. If I have half of the inspiration in my entire body that my mother has in one fingernail, I’ll be radiant. If my children feel the way that I feel about my mother one day, I’ll know I learned from the best.
Thank you to all of my parents who did their part in raising me – I know it wasn’t a walk in the park.