For My Mother

Her name is Caryn, and she likes birds. She is my mother.

I am the firstborn. She is, as well.

We are both left-handed.

We both have lots of children. She always says I win with eight. I think she forgets those she lost, and when we get to heaven, she will find that she is actually the winner.

Even though it’s not a contest, and I’m not trying to prove anything!

I remind her of that as often as possible.

It’s not a contest. 

I have not been a Hallmark daughter. Our relationship has been messy and complicated. We have grown.

So much so, that last year we took a trip together to Boston for Sisters and Mom week.

It was a pretty big deal, the two of us flying together.

It’s a pretty big deal that we live within walking distance of each other and spend time together and that my kids are close to their grandma.

A few months ago, one of my daughters made a list for me and asked that I post it on my blog. It is in that spirit that I offer one of my own. To my mother.

I love you, Mom. Here are 100 reasons why.

1. You breastfed me.
2. You read books to me and sang with me.
3. You took me out for coffee with your friends when I was little and let me drink out of the little creamer cup.
4. You let me play with little neighborhood friends, even when we didn’t live in the best neighborhood. You kept the front door (and your ears) open.
5. You taught me Bible verses.
6. You made up songs. (B-e-d, B-e-d, Bed, Bed, you need bed. You have ten miiiinutes….)
7. You sewed a doll with brown yarn hair and blue fabric eyes for me.
8. You sewed a bathrobe for me.
9. You played Memory with me.
10. You gardened.
11. You harvested.
12. You canned.
13. You connected with people around you.
14. You told stories with Lolly Elephant.
15. You taught Bible club when we lived in the apartment.
16. You used flannel graph.
17. You cooked meals for us every night.
18. You helped me make friends with Rene.
19. You noticed the tick on my hip when I was four.
20. You tried to limit red dye and cheese consumption for my greater good.
21. You participated in a food co-op that time.
22. You tried to be a sport about thrift stores.
23. You took us on road trips to Michigan.
24. You took me on outings with Janet and Nicole.
25. You let me cook.
26. You let me bake my own bakery-style birthday cakes.(haha!)
27. You let me invite Nicole over for birthday celebrations.
28. You coordinated the church nursery.
29. You made me a little orange and yellow playroom with organized toys.
30. You kept fighting the clutter monster, even when it threatened to take you down.
31. You made organizers from plastic milk jugs when you couldn’t afford store-bought ones.
32. You survived a remodel, addition, whatever that was, you survived it.
33. You exercised.
34. You wore exercise sandals.
35. You noticed that one of your many children had already gotten in the pool when they weren’t supposed to.
36. You took us to the pool.
37. Because you made friends with older people who had a pool and invited us to swim.
38. You have a heart for older people.
39. You made childbirth sound like an evening stroll in the park with a stop off at Bob Evans for breakfast on the way home, so I wasn’t fearful of childbirth. Oh. My. Thank you?
40. You wore stylish wrap around skirts.
41. You tried to teach me to sew.
42. You let me just figure it out.
43. Ok, so I can’t sew.
44. You got me a real chalkboard so that I could play school.
45. You let me set up a school room.
46. You took me to get my ears pierced.
47. You took me to get my hair cut.
48. You watched Growing Up and Liking It with me at school in 5th grade.
49. You sometimes forgot to plug in the crock pot, and we got to go out to eat instead of eating soupy chicken at home.
50. You invited people over.
51. You let me go to friends’ houses.
52. You bought me bras and underwear at JCPenney, because that’s just where you get those items.
53. You let me ride on the bus when you substitute drove Steve’s route.
54. You cared for animals.
55. You made real life connections back in the day when the internet was non-existent (at least in people’s homes), and mothering lots of kids at home was even more isolating than it can be today.
56. You survived living on a low income with a lot of children.
57. You always kept us fed and clothed.
58. You decorated a nursery for Greg on Nicholson St. complete with a chair rail.
59. You let me have it for my own room when he got bigger.
60. You let us hide our special toys in the attic so they wouldn’t get ruined when people came over.
61. You took us to the doctor.
62. You took us to the dentist.
63. You tried to do a frugal recycled birthday for one of our siblings by fixing up discarded toys. That had to have been so annoying when we all began to claim our stuff!
64. You tried to cut back on our sugar intake, even if it WAS on Easter and involved CAROB bunnies.
65. You hid real Easter eggs for us to find.
66. You got me hot chocolate from the hot drink machine at Giant, and were only slightly annoyed with me when I started splashing hot liquid everywhere and freaking out.
67. You were frugal before there were websites to teach you how, even though you weren’t fond of frugality.
68. You took me shopping for fabric with Nicole to make our 4th grade pillows.
69. Sunshine Family Dolls. Enough said.
70. You were calm when we were flashed while coming out of Giant that time. “That man doesn’t have any PANTS on.” Oh my. Thankfully, it was only the backside, and he ran off quickly.
71. You didn’t act too annoyed on long car rides to Michigan when the backback was down, and the kids were sleeping, and my chin was propped on the seat back between you and Dad just hanging out.
72. You let me pack boxes of magazines for the infamous move while leaving behind your dining room chairs.
73. You planned a wedding for me during a season of huge transition.
74. You drove to see me after my first baby was born, and you lived hundreds of miles away, and your baby was only 4.
75. You still buy me groceries and treats sometimes “just because.”
76. You cook amazing meals.
77. You host family gatherings.
78. You hear hard things.
79. You continue to learn and grow.
80. You come hear me when I sing on worship team.
81. You spend time with my children.
82. You step out of your comfort zone.
83. You care for people.
84. You help with piano run.
85. You help with last-minute sick grandkids.
86. You baked Christmas cookies with the little girls.
87. You make memories.
88. You took me to the banquet.
89. You attend choir concerts and recitals.
90. You drive to Michigan to spend time with YOUR family.
91. You read books.
92. You learn new technology.
93. You remain curious.
94. You go to lunch with your friends.
95. You taught me to make the best chocolate chip cookies.
96. You fly places now.
97. You stay young.
98. You love your husband.
99. You love your children and their families.
100. You gave me space to risk in our relationship, and you didn’t run.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you!!!!!

3 thoughts on “For My Mother

Thanks for heart-composting with me! I appreciate your words.

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