May is a month of celebrations in our family. There are no fewer than 4 immediate-family birthdays, as well as the birthday of the Chomicki twins who are my parents goddaughters and our "cousins", plus with seven kids there is bound to be some sort of graduation almost every year, and last but not least of course May is home to the day we celebrate our dear mother.
Growing up, all my friends loved my mom and thought was very cool, but I couldn't really see where they got that from. Most of my teenage years (and some before and some after...) were spent butting heads with her, and I caused her lots and lots of grief. A few years ago the realization dawned on me that part of the reason I fought with her so much was because I am really similar to her in many ways. We both hold strong opinions and aren't willing to back down from them. We both get emotional when we believe in something, and will fight hard for that. And we both seek beauty and appreciate truth. While we don't see eye-to-eye on many things, we've both learned to live with that, and though we may not understand the other's point of view we've come to a mutual respect.
Getting married has changed my life in many ways, and one aspect is that it has given me a new appreciation for my mom. Her early days of marriage resembled mine in some ways, and must have been harder in others. We both are/were young women expatriated and living in our husband's land, a place we came to willingly but a place of foreign customs, full of people with inexplicable behavior. Language and expectations are vital to a married couple, and marrying someone with a different native tongue, and with cultural expectations that you may not be aware of, can cause a lot of unnecessary strife. But when things get difficult she's an example to me of someone who made it work, and has reaped the rewards. I wasn't there in those beginning days of my parents marriage and honestly had never given them much thought, but lately I've realized that wow, she made it through, under circumstances even more difficult than mine, so hey, so can I.
Almost exactly a year ago I was sitting in the city headquarters of a large gas station company, waiting for my student; the head of human resources there was a lovely but not-very-timely lady. I had just bought a new little pocket notebook, and as I sat there thinking, I began to write down a list. I'll inscribe it here, as a mother's day gift, the best I can give to my mom on this day. Although I might write it slightly differently today, this is how it was written then, and I'll keep it unchanged.
My mother has many amazing qualities, many of which I share, others which I'd like to develop or adopt.
We share, but me in my own way:
For my development, now or in the future:
- good at writing
- good at cooking
For adopting in the future:
- organizing events and other people
- good at art
- good at mothering
- being a welcoming hostess
- independent thinker
- making something out of nothing
- bringing people together
- encourages ability, talent and independence in her kids
Thank you mom for being an inspiring mother, the best you could be, and the best I could hope for. I love you!