Having a mother is something that everyone who has one takes for granted. Whether our moms are doling out advice we didn’t ask for, making the countless school lunches and home-cooked dinners we just expected, or telling us to drive safe when really they’d rather we just stay home, it’s easy to forget that these things are done out of love. But the more we transition into our own adulthoods, at least for me anyway, the more clear it becomes just how much my own mom sacrificed for my sake.
I remember hundreds of trips with my mom to and from school, which usually took no less than 45 minutes around the beltway. (That’s a long story in itself. Divorced parents, two homes, one school, yada yada.) I can also recall the many back-to-school clothes shopping trips she took me on (and the one pair of pants I refused to wear), the bows she put in my hair (all the way through fifth grade, against my will), and the manuscripts she’d written and hand off to me to read and copyedit (hence my love of writing).The memories that stick out most for me are the times we’d trek down to Tennessee to visit her mom and the rest of my family on her side. We’d spend a week, sometimes two, in the summers driving around the small town of Columbia with its clock tower, Piggly Wiggly, and center square. My mom was born in Columbia, lost her father very young there, dreamed of writing children’s books there, and was even the town’s Mule Day queen. I’m not sure she’ll be entirely thrilled I’ve shared this with you, but my momma was a beauty queen many times, and on Mule Day in particular, they paraded her around… on a mule.
I got to spend a lot of time with my grandmother, Donna Sue, during those visits to Tennessee. Every visit was filled with good southern cooking, reliable southern heat, and slow southern drawls. Every visit was a treasure, but even those I sometimes took for granted. When ovarian cancer cut Donna Sue’s life way short, I was just 14, my mom only 39. Maybe my mom took her mom for granted, too, growing up, but I know she didn’t in those last few months of her mother’s life. I know she wouldn’t now.
Which is why Mother’s Day is always a little bittersweet. Which is also why we should not only cherish our mothers– if we’re lucky enough to have one– on Mother’s Day, but also during the regular days when they’re telling us our shoes don’t really go with that outfit. Because not only does my mom give me financial support, a place to live, and dinner most weeknights– she also gives me love, strength, and encouragement. When I start thinking how life is hard (which I admit is often), I remember that she once had it harder. And she’s help set up my life so that, by comparison, my struggles are merely passing inconveniences. And I try to remind myself that every day.
Cassie via @wittycassiehere is a freelance writer working in the publishing and advertising industry near Baltimore. She loves music, puppies, and pasta. When not writing, sleeping, or eating, Cassie can be found practicing her lip-synching skills and contemplating what appears to be an extra bone in her foot. She loves her mother, among other people, and blogs at www.wittytitlehere.com