I am the oldest of 4 children. I have 2 other sisters and a brother. My mother and I have bucked heads since the earliest memories I have. I am an independent spirit, I am passionate, I am head strong, I am willful, I am just as much my mother’s daughter as I am my father’s daughter. If she doesn’t realize it, she should now. I can remember the fights with her in kindergarten when I wanted to wear my favorite purple corduroy pants for picture day and she wanted to put me in a flowery and lacy dress. I won that fight, and I stood proudly in the back row of my class picture. I remember demanding to grow my bangs out in 5th grade and the awfulness that came after that. I was a tom boy and my mom was hoping for more of a little lady. I wanted to tag along with dad doing chores, milking cows, riding in tractors and getting dirty.
When I hit my teen years I really challenged my mother. I wasn’t too much of a trouble maker, but every time she gave me a boundary that I thought was unrealistic I challenged it. I tried shorts that were too short and speeding tickets to football games. These were not my proudest moments and I know I am responsible for more than a couple gray hairs, but my mother remained firm. Every time we fought, I apologized and tried to do better. I knew my mother was being firm out of love for me. Now as a 30-something woman, I look back and see how much of blessing she was for my siblings and me. Those boundaries helped keep me from bouncing too far off the straight and narrow path. When there was an injustice at school, mom went to bat for us, meeting with the principle to make sure our lives were fair. Her love for us was so passionate at times that it came out as frustration when we made choices she knew were less than our ability. She taught her daughters the value of modesty and respecting ourselves for more than our appearance. She encouraged us to travel and try new things, but at the time seemed like she was just bossing us around. She taught us the value of a dollar, hard work, and how to save and sacrifice for something we really wanted. She gave her time to drive us to school events making sure that we experienced the arts, sports, and community service through 4-H and church.
Most of all mom led us in example of how she treated our father. She has always worked to care for dad: doing cooking, cleaning, laundry, running errands, serving him lunches in the fields. She ended her career to stay at home and raise 4 children, while helping my father farm. Dad often says that was one of the most wonderful things mom ever gave him…4 beautiful children. Their marriage like so many others faced hard times, and it wasn’t perfect but it worked for them. Mom prayed with dad and shared that faith with us. I’m sure more than once she said a novena on my behalf. To this day I will default to praying the rosary in times of crisis or severe weather thunderstorms; that is all mom. Mom made sure we knew that you could argue in a marriage and make up, that you could work through the conflicts. So much that mom did for us while we were growing up, I feel like I took it for granted at the time.
I see women especially, that didn’t have a mom like mine, and I see how much they struggle in life trying to find out who they are. If it wasn’t for the hard boundaries and lessons in faith and self respect from mom, I don’t know if I would be half the woman I am today. I see now how important her example was in who I am today. Yes we still buck heads but we can handle conflict because of how she taught me to handle conflict. I know at the end of the day, when mom gets really passionate about something, it is because she loves me so much and only wants the best for me. On this Mother’s Day weekend, I say thank you and I love you to the best mom I could’ve ever imagined! And God Bless you always and forever!