Saturday, May 7, 2011

A thank you note to my mother

I feel very fortunate to be traveling to see my mother on Mother’s Day.  I suppose I should feel a little bad about descending upon her with two energetic toddlers for the next 3+ days while Will gets some much needed time at the office, but I’ll get over that very quickly when I see images similar to those below:

Mother and I are extremely close and she has been a huge part of my life since I was born (obviously), but even more so these last few years since venturing out on my own.

When I was small, Mother (yes, I call her “Mother” not “Mom.”  It is a tradition in our family on both sides that I plan to carry on.  To this day, the thought of calling her “Mom” makes me giggle.  She is simply Mother to me) exuded love, nurturing, confidence and discipline.  Mother always seemed to know the right things to say, do and think and never held back in teaching her four children these life lessons.  In other words, Mother was one of those “strict” mothers.  I am not sure I can thank her enough for expecting so much from us, but also letting us find our own way (sometimes the hard way).

To this day, I cannot believe that she let me move to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 17 to start my dance career.  At the time, of course, I could not appreciate how hard it must have been to watch her baby leave the nest, move nine hours away, rent an apartment alone, and (most shockingly) not be going to college.  I am almost certain that I could not have the strength to let Frances do the same thing and I thank her enough for her faith in my abilities as a dancer.

Mother was the first person (except Will and me) to hold my precious children after they were born.  When Frances was born, she had been “Nana” for over 17 years, but she has never skipped a beat and 10 grandchildren later still makes each one feel important, loved and unique.  Frances and George call Nana daily on their play kitchen phone; they want to be near her, play with her, hold her and just know that she is there.  To them, Lynchburg (where Mother lives) is a magical place that is well worth the 2 ½ hour drive so long as Nana is waiting for them when they arrive.

While Mother and I have become much closer friends as I have gotten older, I still rely on her advice, opinion, judgment and guidance through major life decisions (baby #3?  New house?  Career on pause?) and the much more mundane questions (do you like this outfit?  How does this picture look here?  Do I need a new hair-do?).  She has spent countless hours on the phone with me weighing pros and cons, dispensing her own wisdom and experiences, or just letting me vent, cry, stew or deliberate—somehow she knows exactly what route to take when we start our conversation.
September 1999

May 2004 (law school graduation)

Sometimes my mind wanders to a time when I won’t have my (nearly) daily contact with my mother and the sadness hits my chest like a ton of bricks.  Mother not only gave me life and created such happiness in my childhood, she immeasurably enriches my adult life and, even more amazing, my children’s lives.

What words cannot express in this post I hope to be able to convey in my hugs and kisses when I see her again soon.  I love you, Mother!  Happy Mother’s Day!

On Mother and Frank's wedding day, April 22, 1984

On my wedding day, August 14, 2004

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