The earliest memory I have of my mom was shortly after my little sister was born. I was just about two and a half, and I remember her standing in one of the bedrooms in our house, by the window, holding Hilary and looking down at her. It's just a brief snapshot of memory, just a quick flash, but I love that first memory of her. That memory is followed by one of me being sick, and for some reason we were home alone (rare moments in a house with three sisters), and she was sitting at the table with me, helping with a Bugs Bunny puzzle. You know, the kind with the giant puzzle pieces that fit in a cut out on cardboard. Bugs Bunny was scuba diving for treasure. I remember feeling especially happy in those moments alone with her.
My parents made a huge financial sacrifice when my oldest sister came along, and decided that my mom would stay at home with us instead of work. She homeschooled four girls through all 12 years of school, drove us around to our hundreds of activities, and was there for every day we were sick. As a kid, I took that for granted. As a teenager, I chafted under her being there all the time. But in this current stage of (not quite) adulthood? I am so very grateful that 97% of my life memories include my mom. I am so grateful for the sacrifice that she made, and still makes, in her life to spend all of her time being a mom to me.
Let me tell you a little bit about my momma.
My momma makes the worlds best homemade macaroni and cheese. She has tried just about every "monthly meal planning" trick out there (feeding a family of 6, along with whatever additional housemates we had at the time, wasn't easy!). She tried to feed us tofu one time in a soup, and we still won't let her live it down. She always uses dried onions, instead of her preference of fresh onions, in food, because my oldest sister hates onions. She makes her homemade potato salad for just about every family gathering because we beg and plead for it, and she can't say no to us! She makes my dad "real" popcorn (in a pot, on the stove) because she knows he loves it. She buys her dogs organic food and treats, because it's "best" for them.
She can't watch TV, because she gets too sucked in and zones out. She thinks the movie "Babe" is suspenseful and has to leave the room at least 4 different times during it. (Yep. Babe. The one with the pig.) The Emperors New Grove is her favorite movie, and is quoted very often around our house. She watches football with us every season - not because she likes it, but because we just like to have her be in the same room as us, so we make her stay. She will root for Duke to win the NCAA championship every year.
My momma took care of her momma for years and years and years, through her bad health. After grandma couldn't live with us anymore, my mom would pile us in the car and take us to visit her. She put a lot of time and energy into her mom, and loved her very much. When one of us girls got sick? She'd sit with us for hours on the couch, and put our heads in her lap, and scratch our backs. She's make us eggs and toast, and soothe us to sleep. I had my appendix removed when I was seven, and my mom? She slept every night in the chair next to my bed until I went home. After I had moved out, she made several trips out to take care of me when I was sick or had a migraine.
My momma is a very gracious person. A very giving person. I can't recall the amount of times I've heard her say "oh, it's just stuff", when something that was lent out was lost into the infamous black hole. She's never held her "stuff" closely. She could care less if someone tracks dirt in the house ("it vacuums up easily"), or if something got spilled on the sofa ("it'll come out"). My mom always thinks people are more important than things.
My mom loves people. She does. It's something about her that always amazes me. I think she's actually incapable of holding a grudge. And she's one of "those" friends. The kind you always wish you could have - the kind that will always, no matter what the circumstances, be there. She'll take your kids for a day, she'll drive 3 hours to have lunch with you, she'll pick up the phone at 11:00 at night, she'll leave work if you need her. She's THAT kind of friend.
My momma loves God. She lives her life fully aware of Him, and all that He calls her too, and all that He calls her to be.
My mom is my #1 fan. She just is. She champions me and supports me. She teaches me and challenges me. Many of you know this, but my mom actually works my photography business with me as my second shooter. She gives up literally days of her life to support my business, and support me, in such a practical way. My mom has fought for years to learn to understand and support the emotional side of me. She has fought to find ways to connect to me emotionally, and love and embrace me in whatever dramatically intense moment I'm in.
My mom is beautiful. I mean....check-her-out-on-the-street beautiful.
My mom is a grandma. And she's a wonderful grandma. She's a grandma, in much of the same ways she's been a mom. She gives up adult conversation for playtime; she spends meal time making sure her grandbabies are taken care of; she is forever buying something for her little men.
If you've skimmed this long post, hear this. My mom is amazing. She's beautiful. She has an unbelievably large heart. She loves deeply, and sacrifices much. And mom? I'm so grateful that you're mine.