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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Now & Again: My one and only mom

Monday, May 15, 2006

For lack of an idea for a Mother's Day present I decided to dedicate this column to my one and only mom. I say "one" because, of course, I only have one mom, others may have stepmoms and such. I say "only" because although I have a mother-in-law and family friends who were like a mom, my mom is "the" mom. The supreme being who was and is the most integral part of who I have become as person, good or bad. (I'd like to think, mostly good.)

I found myself reflecting about the upcoming weekend and how I was going to spend it with my mom for the first time in a number of years, since she had previously lived in Florida. I don't have a present for her. No token gift will ever say enough thanks for being a fantastic mom.

For some reason or another it dawned on me that my mom is the only person I have ever referred to as "mom" or "mommy". I don't think I ever referred to her as "mother". We weren't the formal sort of family to use that term.

Some people will refer to their mother-in-law as mom, like my husband does for my mom, but I on the other hand, have never called his mom by the same. I always call her by her first name or more affectionately as grandma.

As I reflected on why I did this, I decided that I did it, because I do in fact only have one mom, my mom. She's earned that distinction from me by putting up with me for at least 21 years before I married. Now my husband puts up with me.

I have put her through the wringer and hung her out to dry and all the while she never once waivered in her love, support, and letting me know how proud she is of me. Yep, she's earned it alright and although my mother-in-law is someone I deeply care for as well, she well earned her motherhood from her three sons.

Some characteristics that make my mom special to me are too numerous to tell here, but I'll share a few of them. I'll start with my appreciation of her sense of humor.

I have found, as a mother, that having a sense of humor is critical to keeping your sanity when it comes to raising children. I appreciate it more now. When I get together with my mom and sister we do nothing but laugh, with and at, each other until we burst, while share "war" stories of our lives with children and husbands.

The best laughs are when we recall those times when the three of us were left on our own while dad was away on a tour of duty or at field training. Although the details of the memories may not have been funny at the time, recalling some of them brings on the laughter because, after all, we got through it.

Independence. My mom is the living example of "you can be or do whatever you want to." She did things that most moms would never dream of doing. Things like rotating the tires on the pickup truck, thawing out frozen pipes, packing up and moving (overseas), and more recently going to college for computers.

Yes, you read that right. My mom is approaching sixty years old, and is going to college as a result of military benefits of my dad's death. She is studying computers. She is learning programming, networking, and other computer stuff that even I wouldn't do. I just want to use the computer not know how it works.

Bravery. To add to my mom's independence, my mom is now a first time homeowner after moving to Council Bluffs, where my sister also lives, from Florida. For the first time in her life, she made her own decision to move, and purchase a house of her choice to be closer to us.

My sister and I never once pushed her toward the idea. Before dad died, almost five years ago, he made all the arrangements for her. She had a home and no debts, he took care of the woman that always took care of him.

My sister and I merely told her that what she decided to do was completely up to her. Five years later and being the mom that she is, she opted to choose "her" family and was brave enough to make the move, by herself, in a rented truck that she drove, I might add.

I for one am glad she did, my sister for another is glad she did, and our combination of six children are absolutely thrilled that she did. So it goes, this weekend I will get to spend time with my mom and hopefully show her how much I love and support her, as well as say how proud I am of her.