They are superheroes. They possess healing powers. They can read minds. They can be in multiple places at the same time. They are fiercely protective. They love unconditionally. They are moms. If you were anything like me, we spent a lot of our childhood explaining ourselves to mom. If I wasn’t disappearing into the El Paso desert with a stranger, I was building whole cities in the dirt that I then populated with toads, or I was rescuing a pigeon with an injured wing I found down the street, or I was climbing on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle to catch a ride around the block with our neighbor after my mom told me no. All this before I was five years old. I am pretty sure there were days that my mom wished a stork had delivered me so she could send me back. Me? I was just trying to keep her life interesting.
In between the laughs, scares, and general mayhem I caused, my mom taught me some very important lessons. My mom was a “tiger mother.” I grew up knowing that school was the most important thing in life. I had a few chores, but my “job” was to get good grades. During the summer before I could go outside and play, I spent the mornings completing workbooks that my mom picked up at the local bookstore. While drying the dishes, I recited my times tables. We spent countless hours at the dining room table working on my penmanship. My mom didn’t just lock me away in a room to study. We colored together, we drew pictures together, and we read together. My mom wanted me to have opportunities in life and knew that learning was the way to get there.
She instilled in me from an early age a work ethic. When I came home with a “B” or a “C,” my mom was disappointed in me because she believed that I was capable of “A” work. The times when I felt lazy, I would think about my mom and how she would study with me. She listened to me recite If by Rudyard Kipling so many times, I am sure she wanted to throw something at me. My mom wanted me to know deep inside that I was capable of achieving anything. So, she pushed me to always do my best. Through disappointments, mistakes, and bad decisions, she made me learn the lessons and not dwell on the failure. She was hard on me because she knew that the world is a harsh place. She pushed me beyond what I thought was possible so I could know my own strength. She held me to a high standard so I would know my own worth. She believed in me so I could build my own confidence. She loved me unconditionally so I would know that I am enough.
This Mother’s Day, I wanted to take a minute to tell my mom and all of the other moms…thank you. Thank you for never giving up. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for believing that we can achieve anything and giving us the courage to try. Mostly, thank you for always being on our side.