Here it is - Mother's Day - a time to celebrate the women who gave us life. And every year, I struggle with the same thing: What do I get her?? It's easy to buy something, but nothing I buy will ever be able to say "Thank you" enough, or let her know how much I truly value and appreciate her.
When I was little, my mom decided she would not raise us in a home with a drunk who couldn't hold down a job. So, she became a single mother. A lot of women would have stayed, afraid to try and make it alone, but my mom pushed forward. She continued to do so over the years, after failed relationships, job losses, and any other pile of crap that life threw at her (or us). She showed me that you never give up, no matter what.
For the most part, I was a pretty easy-to-handle kid. I didn't get into much trouble (compared to my big brother, I'm a saint!!). Granted, there was the time I got caught stealing as a kid. Peer pressure got me. I remember how afraid I was to tell her. I was sure my life would be over. But, she didn't yell or hit. She was so hurt and so disappointed in me. She told me she didn't trust me and I would have to regain that trust. That was the worst pain and punishment to receive. I never wanted to her to be that disappointed in me again. So, when I was in junior high and got into trouble for fighting, I figured I'd let her down again. But, she listened to me. She allowed me to defend myself. And my only punishment was that I had to pay my own fine. NO problem!! My mom always gave me a lot of responsibility and freedom to make my own choices. She showed me that as long as I could back them up, they were mine to make. I felt I was able to grow so much this way.
Over the years, I've also dated a lot of people that my mom wouldn't necessarily be thrilled about, but again, she always supported my decisions to be with whom I have wanted to be with. She always says, "As long as you are happy, that is all I ask for. I don't care if your partner is black, white, or even purple - as long as they make you happy." And while I've given my mom some shockers in terms of my dating, she has always continued to love me and stand beside me.
The first time I left home (for college), I knew it would be rough. I think it's rough on all parents when their babies finally leave the nest. But, when I decided to move to Texas, that was even harder on her. I hated that she was upset. Not disappointed, but sad that her baby would no longer be close. But, she supported me and took me to the airport. This would be the first of many times that she took me to the airport for some other adventure in my life! Now, a study-abroad in Ireland, a move to Kazakhstan, and a move to China later, she is still supporting me.
As an adult, my mom and I are very close. We always were though. She's always been my biggest fan. She believes in me when I sometimes have trouble believing in myself. She knows what makes me smile and she knows what not to bring up in conversations with me to avoid a heated dispute. She appreciates my love of travel and my desire to see the world. And while I know she would love to see me more, she never makes me feel guilty for not coming home. A true mom allows you to be the best person you think you can be while standing beside you along the way, there to pick you up if you fall.
I am so very blessed to have such a mom. I would not be the strong (and mouthy) woman I am today if it were not for her. And although I am far away, and only see her via the computer, I think about her daily and love her more than she will ever know.
I am very proud to be your daughter, Kathy Bodenhorn. Happy Mother's Day to all of the mom's out there!! May you all be as lucky as me.