How I Am Like My Mother

On mother’s day, I’m grateful for my mom and I’m grateful to be a mom.
Being a mom makes me even more grateful for my mom.

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This mother’s day I am giving my mom what she always requests…..
just write me something Alice.

Like me, my mom is human, therefore she is a masterpiece of perfect imperfection. I love her with all my heart. Her heart is in my heart. Without her my heart would not beat. Without her love, I would not exist. Without her lifetime of love, I would not be who I am. It took me a long time to admit it, but I am a product of my mother. She molded me intentionally with her every action – unintentional or not. Daily for my entire forty-one years her every choice has left an imprint on my soul. I cannot leave a mere footprint in the sand without my mom being represented.

I am like my mother in many ways…the good, the bad, and the ugly. The beauty of our relationship is knowing that no matter how I act or what I believe, I have someone who gets me and loves me. I hope she knows she has the same from her daughter.

So, mom, this is for you. I will print it (because you don’t know how to use a computer) and mail it (because you aren’t so great at texting either) and I hope when you have it in your hands, when you read these words, you will know how much you are loved and how much you matter. Your influence will live on forever and ever. I’m doing my best to pass it all down…I intentionally and unintentionally leave you in the hearts of my children.

Before I go to the ways I am like my mom, I just had a memory come flooding in to my mind that I want to share. My mom will love it. I was in second grade. It was Valentine’s Day. My teacher had a tradition of having the parents write their kids a love note. She would save them for the very last thing of the day. The teacher had made a really big deal about our special valentines. I remember as she passed out the notes, I was so nervous, I was so worried I’d be left out somehow. Maybe I had been naughty and thought my mom wouldn’t have anything nice to say? Maybe I was used to being a member of a very large family and I inherently knew that my mom couldn’t keep up with all the little things required of her? Maybe I knew my mom was super pregnant with baby #7 and that made my chances of receiving a letter really slim. Whatever it was I steeled myself for whatever was to come and promised myself I would not cry. I knew I was loved by my parents. I also knew they were imperfect.

I braced myself as my teacher came up my aisle of desks reaching in and out her special heart box with the best valentines of the day. I sat at the very back of the aisle. Unlike the other kids who were tearing through their already delivered goodies, almost disinterested in their special delivery, I sat quietly full of anxiety. Would I be able to show strength when my teacher didn’t give me anything? I looked down trying not to seem to care. I stared at the hemline of Mrs. Einertson’s flowery 70’s-type shirt where it met her brown polyester bell-bottoms. (She was a cheery strawberry blonde, a great teacher, and taught all of my family. I loved her so much.)

I clenched my sweaty fists and blinked back the threatening tears. She now stood reaching in her box right above me. I was the last delivery. I couldn’t make myself look, but at least it would be over with either way now. I felt like she could see right through me and that her empathy would at least make something appear…even if it was just a leftover. All of the sudden, a note dropped right into my hands. I stared at it in pure relief. A tear may have dropped anyhow. I looked at my teacher who smiled so sweetly. I was surprised in myself as I looked right into her eyes and smiled right back at her. Then I quickly took my attention back to the note staring.

I studied every detail. The envelope was addressed to me in my mom’s gorgeous small and straight-lined italic type cursive handwriting. It was a special envelope. My mom had used her special flowery stationary that she hid away in her room and told us not to touch. Then, the smell hit. It was a smell that was unfamiliar, but it was the most pleasant thing I had ever smelled in my life. It was a hint of rose, but it was different so it must have been some other kind of flower too. I put the envelope to my nose and inhaled it in as deep as it would go. I couldn’t believe that my mom had found something that smelled so good. And she had given it to me! I wondered if the stationary just came that way or had she sprayed something on it. I thought maybe the teacher had sprayed everyones and asked the kid in front of me if his note smelled good. It didn’t, so I let him smell mine. I opened it and read it. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before. My mom loved me. She was proud of me. I was her black-haired beauty. etc. etc.

I sat taking it in. Tears ran down my face. I was the most special girl in the world. My mom gave me a smelly note. She was the most busy mom ever, but my note smelled better than anyone else’s in my class, better than any scratch and sniff sticker in all of existence. I sniffed and sniffed, like a drug-sick addict. I felt the smell of love run through every vein of my body. I can still smell it after all of these years. Somewhere in my basement tucked in a box is that note. Whenever I get it out, I still sniff and sniff…the scent still lingers on the paper. If someone was to cut me up and tear my heart out I am sure that it smells like that letter…it’s imprint is eternal….from my mom.

I can only hope to give each of my own kids a moment like that where they know without any doubt the depth of my love for them. I probably never thanked you mom. Thank you. I love you. As a busy mom, I somewhat understand now. You may have remembered that note at 2 am after folding 12 loads of laundry and you just wanted to crash in to your bed or maybe you even got a call that morning from the teacher and you had to skip your grocery shopping to run something to the school in just the nick of time. I will never know the specific sacrifices you personally made for me, but I know of them, and they mean even more to me now than they did then.

So, back to the ways I am like my mom:

I sacrifice for my children.
I hate mornings.
I love to thrift-shop.
Hamburgers for dinner are my favorite.
Anything I don’t have to cook is my favorite for dinner.
I cry at the drop of a hat.
I love to garden.
I love a good cup of Postum.
I need medicine to sleep.
I’ve never met a stranger.
I always make do.
I love my children.
I enjoy a good movie.
I have a stash of soda in my bedroom.
I have bad bowels.
I’m tough.
I never give up.
I’m quick to give advice.
I have black hair.
I love Disneyland.
I’m a night owl.
I experience the beauty around me.
I love the sound of waves breaking.
Scripture soothes me.
I love other people’s children.
I need more sleep than other people.
I believe God talks to me.
I try to do what He tells me.
I have black hair.
I’m not afraid to share my beliefs.
I’m emotional.
I love to read.
I adore my husband.
I’m a sucker for strays.
I keep a stash of medicines for emergencies.
I love people.
I always keep a full bowl of fruit in my house.
I have a hard time with snooty people.
Gardenias, geraniums, CA poppies…can’t get enough.
I pray. all day. every day.
I love American sports: football and baseball.
I love sunny weather.
I find peace among fellow saints.
And the rain.
I embarrass my kids by getting worked up over their sporting events.
I don’t like to be cold.
I’m grateful.
I love my Jesus.
I believe in His atonement.
I have to work on not commenting too much at church.
John Denver.
I know the struggle.
I stare it down day after day.
I have four daughters.
I don’t need fancy things.
I love primary songs.
I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world.
I will give the shirt off my back for someone with less than me.
That’s why I don’t have much.
But I have everything that matters.
And more.
So much more.

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Last, like my mom,
I doubt my importance to other people
and undervalue myself.
Mom, for mother’s day,
I want you to
once and for all
know your infinite worth.
You mean everything to me.
I’m proud to be a mom.
Just like you.

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