Sunday, May 11, 2008

A List for my Mother

Pin It Thanks for making me practice the piano, even when I had an absolute fit about it, screaming like a banshee as you grimly dragged me back to the keyboard.

Thanks for insisting that we, "for heavens sake, turn off the TV and go play outside." I don't remember much about the shows we protested over, but I remember playing with my brothers and sisters and friends - cops and robbers on bikes, don't-touch-the-ground tag in the backyard, rollerskating up and down the street with packs of neighborhood children.

Thank you for dragging the whole brood of us to the library, over and over and over again, and for unlocking my imagination by introducing me to the Boxcar Children, Mrs. Pigglewiggle and The Little Princess, to Roald Dahl and Anne of Green Gables.

Thanks for making me take swimming lessons - for chasing my six year old self around the pool as I screamed "I DON'T WANT TO DIE!" Later, when we spent summer after summer at the rec center pool, I was grateful that you'd been so VERY MEAN.

Thank you for getting me the pink, poofy, STORE-BOUGHT dress I so desperately wanted for my seventh birthday. I will never forget the feeling of a wish truly, sweetly fulfilled.

Thanks for singing with us, for filling the house with music, for letting us do crazy Broadway style dancing in the living room (not even visibly wincing as we leaped on and off the furniture), and for being the attentive audience for an infinite number of impromptu talent shows in the family room.

Thanks for helping me clear off that branch on the mulberry tree because I was in love with the quirkiness of the idea of sitting there to read, and for letting me read there for hours every day when I probably should have been doing chores.

Thanks for sometimes pretending not to notice when I would read in bed at night, flashlight under the covers. Now when I catch my own daughter reading chapter books in the hallway long after she should be sleeping, I smile. (Well, o.k., sometimes I yell GET IN BED, but - you know, lots of other times I smile.)

Thanks for teaching me what it means to look on the bright side. (I think I'm finally FINALLY getting it.)

You know all those times I screamed and lied and had tantrums and was ungrateful and mean and just generally a little snot? Thanks for letting me survive into adulthood. I can't imagine raising nine children and not going stark, raving mad. The fact that we are all alive and in one piece today is kind of miraculous.

There have been times when I judged you harshly. Kids are good at keeping score, at weighing and measuring their slights and hurts. All too often I kept track of all of the things that seemed unfair, storing them up so that I could throw them back at you during our many arguments, all the while swearing I will never do that to my children.

And now each time my children are angry with me, when they shout, "That's not fair," and tell me how I've hurt their feelings, I learn a little more about what a tough job it can be, and how well you managed to do it, and I pray that my own children will be more forgiving than I sometimes was.

Thank you for the countless things you've done for me - and for all of us.

I love you Mom. Happy Mother's Day.