I chose to be a stay-at-home mom. My mother was a stay-at-home mom. I cannot look back and remember a time when she wasn’t there. Well, to be honest I can. There was one time, when she went to the hospital to give birth to my brother, and stayed there for a couple of days. Those were the good old days when they allowed you to give birth and recuperate a little before kicking you out of the hospital. I remember my two aunts and my grandmother hovering over me for days and me missing my mom. I was two and a half at the time. The memory of my mother coming homing, laying my brother on the couch and coming over to me is vivid. I recall her asking, “What did they do to you?,” because my hair was not the way she always groomed it, as she scooped me up to hugs and kisses. That may well be my first memory to have survived all these many years.
I always knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I wanted my children to have what I had. And, besides that, I loved being with my girls. I would hear other moms complain, I can’t wait for the new school year to start, during summer vacation. I was the opposite. I loved having my kids home. As soon as the school year started I was looking forward to the days off, and planning the holidays. Columbus Day weekend was for pumpkin and apple picking, and getting ready for Halloween. When Election Day and Veteran’s Day came, we were planning what we were going to do for Thanksgiving. We were making decorations, making Christmas lists, baking…always something holiday related. Thanksgiving weekend we spent a lot of time with both sets of grandparents and started to do some Christmas shopping. I had all the Christmas shows on tape and we would start watching those together, looking forward to Christmas parties, Christmas morning, and all the presents. We really made the most of every holiday.
But, as much as I thought about other holidays, I never thought about Mother’s Day, because every day was Mother’s Day to me. There were days when the girls would bring me a bouquet of dandelions from the yard that they picked themselves. There were all the school made gifts throughout the year: a colorful beaded necklace, the painted seashell, the ice cream stick picture frames, the little coupon books with coupons for hugs and kisses, the Valentine hearts…all made with their little hands in anticipation of bringing them home to give to me. One year, when we were on vacation, it was my birthday. The girls were about 7 and 5 years old. They entered the talent contest at the ranch and sang Happy Birthday to me. The five year old sang while the seven year old accompanied her with sign language. It was a big hit with the audience and a memory I will always treasure. There were days when my younger daughter was a young toddler, that she would come to me and tug on my pants and put her hands in the air. That was her way of telling me she wanted to be picked up and hugged and kissed. So many little every day things, that they said or did, that made me love being their mom.
So, while other moms may be waiting for phone calls and flowers showing appreciation and acknowledging all the years of sacrifices, I don’t. I feel privileged to have been a mother to two such wonderful girls, who have strived every day of their lives to make me proud of them. The memories, the people they have become, their accomplishments, those are my gifts…and I get them every day.