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Monday, May 11, 2015

Why We Do What We Do



Dear Momma,

             I remember my junior year in high school when we found out you had cancer. I remember the after-dinner conversation when you broke the news to us, and I remember sneaking away that night to cry into my pillow. The months that followed were difficult for me. After school, in the stands, and on the phone I would hear you telling all my friends, girlfriends, teachers, coaches and deans about your diagnosis like it was the hottest gossip since Molly’s first boyfriend. You would excitedly tell all my teammates in the car you were getting a new set of perky breasts.

You thought I was embarrassed.

           You were the PTA president. You were with me on all of my field trips growing up. You were such a fixture with Ms. Claire at the Little League Field that you two deserve a statue outside the canteen. Between Molly’s cheerleading competitions, Leo’s baseball games and my basketball tournaments, your Saturdays were regularly sixteen hours long. Always furious about how off schedule you were, you would drive from state to state to support us- and make it 10 minutes early to every event without ever breaking the speed limit. No matter how many times I told you that you didn’t have to come to my games, you still showed up.

You thought I wanted to get rid of you.

           When I would be playing Xbox you would call to me (often more than once) that it was time for dinner. You asked what girls I liked, what my friends were up to and where the party was knowing all you would get out of me was a “yes,” “no,” or “I don’t know.” I would stuff my face, leave the plate where it sat and run back to my games.

           No friend or girlfriend ever left our house without a full stomach or a ride home. After school you would transport entire teams to practice, many times making multiple trips. For months during my senior year you spent more time with a classmate of mine then you did with me, helping her finish high school strong and dragging her through her college applications. In fact, you probably filled out six or seven FASFA applications and you only have three children. You offered rides after parties and money for McDonalds to all 10+ of your informally adopted children. I would roll my eyes when friends I brought around for the first time told me how great they thought you were.
You thought I wasn’t thankful.

           Maybe there were times I wasn’t thankful. Maybe there were times I did want to get rid of you and maybe there were times you did embarrass me. But you were always there. Rain, sleet, hail or snow you were at every baseball game gleefully putting together chants that got all six fans in attendance excited. You would travel across state lines and into the worst neighborhoods to watch me play basketball and you were at every graduation, ceremony, banquet and awards dinner.

           When I had girl problems you always asked what was wrong but only made me go as deep as I was willing to share. When my friends and I would leave empty liquor bottles in the basement you would always scold me with a smile on your face. When I had to tell Pops how I spent my 20th birthday you were sitting there next to me to hold my knees from shaking.

           No matter how often I sucked my teeth, you were fearlessly selfless throughout my adolescence. You attended every parent-teacher conference for your kids for 16+ years and hearing about our academics isn’t your definition of fun. You would and still do text my friends just to say hi. I mean you would make handy-dandy travel packets for teams your children didn’t even play on. At the time I was too young to think twice about those packets, but seven years and a million trips later, I know how much effort those things took to make.

           I know how grueling it was raising three kids and their 100+ friends. I know how exhausting it was doing everything you did without much of a thank you from a lot of people. I know how hard you worked to raise your three kids into smart, independent, hopefully successfully children.

                                        You’re my Superwoman.

No matter how many miles apart we are I’ll never forget all that you’ve done for your children, my friends and our community. You’ve asked us to be high character young adults and you’ve set a wonderful example.

If you thought I was embarrassed of you, I wasn’t. You were and still are the most loving parent I know, and I didn’t know how to embrace that before.

If you thought I was trying to get rid of you, I’m sorry. I truly have no idea where I would be without you.

If you thought I wasn’t thankful then let me now, from the bottom of my heart, say thank you.

THANK YOU.

Thank you for everything. I’m so proud of all that you’ve done. I’m so blessed to have such a wonderful woman in my life. I’m so impressed at the resume you’ve accumulated over the years. And I’m so, so honored to call you my mom on this holiday. This is your day. Please, take a bow.

Happy Mother’s Day.

I love you. We all love you.

Your favorite child,
Maxwell Francis.

2 comments:

  1. He's inherited your writing talent. How hard did you cry when you read this?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my goodness! I've got a 4 year old daughter and can only hope that she will one day think of me like that. Beautiful!!

    ReplyDelete