Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Because You Loved Me

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to someone who didn't have to.

Thirteen some odd years ago I became a mom. I was scared out of my mind and had no idea what being a mom actually meant. I had a great role model in my own mother regarding what being a mother didn't mean. I've learned a lot by trial and error, mostly error, but as far as mother's go I know I can't be the worst.

I owe a lot of what I did learn about being a mom to someone that has made a huge difference in my life. She came along at a time when I thought I knew it all and frankly didn't need advice from some "stranger".

My early years were not the happiest of times. I was born to two people who were too young to have a child of their own and looking back now I realize they did they best they could at the time under the circumstances. I'm not going to rehash all the horrors of my childhood because it no longer has power over me. I've learned to live on in spite of it. I'll just say that at a very early age I gave up on ever knowing what it would truly mean to be loved by a mother.

I never thought I would feel unconditional love from any female in my life other than my daddy's mother and her mother. They were all I had to cling to as a child and to this day I love them both with all my heart and soul. My great grandmother recently passed away back in December and it's still so surreal to me even though she hadn't been herself for several years. To me she was and will always be the sweet shaky granny that would do anything for anybody and pout if she didn't get her way.

Because I had it rough early on, by the time I hit high school I was rebellious. I wasn't going to live in fear any longer. I had the typical teenage (read: raging asshole) attitude and got into way more things than I should have (except drugs). I went to school when I wanted to, I went out with my friends when I wanted to and came home when I wanted to all thanks to a magic little latch on my bedroom window. Yep, I was that teenager. On the surface and to everyone else I was a smart well behaved child but underneath it all I was broken and searching for any means of escape I could find. I was experiencing some fierce growing pains to say the least.

My daddy in a sense was going through some of his own at the same time. He tried to keep me in check but he had to work and couldn't keep his eye on me round the clock. He provided for me as best he could but there for a while we didn't do much else other than become passing strangers to each other. He had lived his life thus far trying to keep a raging lunatic from causing any more harm to me, himself, and all he owned. By the time he divorced he was like a bird let out of a cage only he had no clue which direction he needed to fly until one day when it ALL changed.

He met this woman who would change everything about what was going on in both his and my life. She was a non threatening little woman that stood every bit of 5 foot nothing. She had a feisty personality and lived a lifestyle that was very different from our own. She actually knew where her next meal was going to come from, went on exotic trips, and made the most of all she had. At first I wrote her off as a passing fancy but the longer she stuck around the clearer it became she wasn't going anywhere anytime soon. We got along but of course in the beginning it was a little awkward.

After a while she moved in with us and without me realizing it she tightened the reigns and got me back under some semblance of control. I remember coming home from school one day (yep, she put a halt to my skipping by taking me to and from and calling throughout the day to make sure I was still there) and they told me they were married. They had the rings on their fingers but I still didn't believe it at first. It was only after I saw the license that I believed them.

From that point on she became the glue that held us together and my mom. It took me a while to come to trust in the idea of having someone I could talk to about things and to realize that she was there to help me and wasn't out to get me. When you grow up like I did you don't trust easy if ever at all. She somehow made it easy. I place a lot of emphasis on the fact that I refer to her as mom in my heart even though I may not always call her mom out loud. My mother had me, my mom loves me.

I credit her for pushing me to get my act together so I could graduate from high school on time. I credit her for allowing me grow as a person and to realize that yeah there may be some truth behind the whole blood is thicker than water adage but sometimes blood is just blood and it takes more than that to be a mom. She helped me find my self worth and to realize that I am special and deserving of a mother's love. She picked up the pieces of my daddy's heart and helped him find his self worth as well. Together they became the greatest parents and grandparents that I could ever wish for myself and my children.

Even though she came into our circle with two daughters of her own that were already grown and it was just me in the house, she never once made me feel like I was ever any less than her own. Because of her I was able to add two more amazing women to my short list of loving women in my life, her and her mother. They are both rare gems in a world filled with cynicism. When I had my first son at 19 I was scared to death but knew that I wasn't and would never be alone in loving and caring for him even though it felt like it at the time. She would walk through fire for me and both of my boys and there aren't that many people out there that are that selfless when they don't have to be.

So with all this being said, today is my mom's birthday. I can't be there to give her a hug and wish her many many more but in my heart I'm giving her the biggest squeeze she could ever imagine. I know she has mixed emotions about this time of year and sometimes has a hard time celebrating because we lost her mother around this time a few years back. Her mother was a wonderful woman with a heart of gold. The best gift she ever gave to my mom was her same fiery spirit and loving kindness. I miss Memaw to this day because she too took me into her heart and never once made me think she didn't love and care about me and especially A1.

Happy Birthday mom. I love you more than you could ever know and I thank you for being you. I can say that I am who I am in part because you loved me and you didn't have to.

This is for you.


Anonymous said...

Hey Girl! That was really sweet, we are out of school and I was reading this and started getting that feeling in your stomach like I was going to cry!
I feel the same way about my stepdaddy( especially since I was so bad too! ) Have a good day!

mlb said...

Don't know why it says anonymous, it is the cuz. mlb

I'm DeeDee said...

you got lucky with your stepdaddy too. in spite of all our "badness" i think we both turned out pretty good! thank goodness.