|My mom and my youngest in July|
Photo by Amy Straka Photography
My mom came to town last week and stayed for a few days. My husband, kids and I live in Florida. My mom lives in Indiana. Needless to say, most of our communication is done through text messaging these days. So the occasions when she comes to town are very special to my family.
We did not do a whole lot while she was here but it was a quality visit. I cried in the car after dropping her off at the airport. My kids were bummed that Gramma Sally had to leave. Even my husband seemed a little down when he loaded her suitcase in the back of the car.
Maybe it is the distance that has made my heart grow fonder, but it seems that I cling more desperately to the moments I spend with my mom these days. Every time I see her, I am reminded of my own childhood and often see the parallels between her life then and my life now. I admire her as a mom, woman and friend. A few things that I appreciate her for are always fresh in my mind following these visits, including:
- Her hard work as a stay-at-home parent. I cannot say that I ever really appreciated all the daily things my mom did for my brothers and I in our younger years. What kids ever do? But now that I walk in her footsteps, all the mundane details mean more. Every dish, every fight I break up, every hour of the day that I wonder what happened to my quiet little cubicle... every moment of self-doubt as a parent at home makes me understand what my own mom must have felt too. At least I have Facebook to get instant encouragement in the form of "likes" and through reading about the horrible tantrums other friends' kids have thrown. Back in the 80s, I think life as a stay-at-home parent must have been a bit more lonely -- but I never heard her complain.
- Her hard work outside the home. Around middle-school age, my mom started working outside the home again. Whether she worked the night shift checking in patients at the emergency room or as seasonal help at the mall, she did her best to help contribute financially to the family. It wasn't just about money, though. She went back to school and got a degree in Criminal Justice and has spent the last 15 years counseling teens who are a crossroads between choosing a life of crime or one of value. Without giving up her mom title, she fulfilled her own career purpose in life and that is something that inspires me everyday.
- The way she loves, and loves, and loves. I remember my mom getting frustrated with us when I was growing up. She yelled at me (more than) a few times in high school and was annoyed if I borrowed her hairbrush. Like most parents, she did not spend every second of every day basking in the gloriousness of her children. Most times, she was just trying to make it through the day. I can certainly relate. But now that she is a grandma, all of that has changed. It seems that there is no end to her patience. She's always smiling, and willing to read a book, and telling me "that's just how kids are" when someone's attitude goes terribly array. I used to say that I hope I can be just like her when I'm a grandparent -- but the truth is, I should aspire to be more like that now. We all should try to see our kids the ways their grandparents do.
You can contact Katie by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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