How freaking cool would it be if we all picked up the phone, sent a text or dropped a Facebook message to one or two or thirty people and told them what they mean to us? That would be an exceptionally awesome day. I’ll start.
My mom’s a teacher.
It’s true. She officially retired from the biz (which no teacher has ever referred to it as that - ever) about six years ago. I remember going up to the school with her when I was younger and watching her prepare the bulletin boards. I remember the way she colored the posters. She had this trademark way of coloring with markers that I found fascinatingly unique. It’s hard to describe. But, I remember it. I remember her as a teacher. I remember always being in awe of my mom.
Fine, I’ll say it. I’m a momma’s boy. I’m not ashamed to admit it. If I had a t-shirt that said that, I’d proudly wear it. Wait, I might actually have one.
One of the things that I’ve realized since becoming a parent is that I want to appreciate my family and friends more. Wait, is that maturity? Cool. I want people to know the impact they’ve made on my life, and I want to share their story. Because everyone deserves to know that they’ve made this world a better place. It shouldn’t happen at an 85th bday party, or a eulogy, or never. It should happen now. This world is chock-full of marvelous, spectacular, beautiful people.
Where did the phrase chock-full come from? Wouldn’t it have been perfect for this teacher themed post if the phrase was chalked-full? Wow, that's off topic. Squirrel.
Anyway, back to my point. My mom (the teacher) has taught me more about life than I can ever put into words. So, forgive me as I try. I’m going to take the opportunity to “talk” to my mom. Interestingly enough, she was visiting us this past week, and I didn’t tell her any of this. Not a word of it. If you recall, one of the things that I’ve realized since becoming a parent is that I want to appreciate my family and friends more. I never said I was good at it. I’m just inept at talking to people. It’s hard to describe. I get lost in my head, and at times, think my kid has a more robust vocabulary than I do. The curse of being an introverted and reluctant conversationalist.
Mom, here’s everything I should have said to you while you were visiting. While I enjoyed catching up with you on the latest tv shows, fascinating new books and curious new diets, I should have poured you a glass of champagne and said, “Cheers To You! You continue to teach and share that gift with the world (even if you don’t know you are doing it).”
Here are some of the things that I love and appreciate about you. I wish I would’ve told you last week.
You make parenting look easy. While you were always our friend, you also understood that your job was to parent us. Sometimes that meant not being liked. But, you always loved us back. I still don’t think I deserved to have my car taken away for that week, but I can appreciate that you did it. Its hard work, but you were/are a magnificent mom. And, a BFF kind of friend.
You are an amazing cheerleader. You never missed a practice, a rehearsal, a game, a moment in our lives. I always knew you were in the stands or on the sideline. It made me feel safe, loved and important. And now, you do that for the grandkids. You even dressed up like a cow for Parker’s Halloween party. How do you have the energy?
*Side note. I now feel guilty if I miss anything of Parker’s, and he’s only 18 months old. So, thanks for that as well.
You never stop learning and growing. You may not understand certain things, like why I’m voting for Hillary. Regardless, you’re always open to dialogue, hearing others perspectives and challenging your own school of thought (a pun on the ol’ teacher theme). You recognize that we all have a lot to learn in this life, no matter how old or experienced we may be. No, I’m not calling you old.
But, since you brought it up – the age thing. You’ve definitely taught me to enjoy life to the absolute fullest (no matter what number shows up on your driver’s license). I love hearing you laugh your ass off with old friends and seeing you with the new friends that you’ve met. I adore the fact that you play pickleball and drink a little wine. I know, not at the same time. Wait, who are we kidding? You know that’s not Gatorade in your water bottle. 65 is the new 21. You’re embracing life, and I love it.
You’re courage runs deep. Unexpected loss, grief, and fear are enough to make anyone want close the blinds, turn off the lights and make the world disappear. But, you didn’t. You haven’t. You’ve put on your “big girl panties” (as you like to say) more times than I can count. You’ve found an inner strength that I’m not sure you knew existed. And, you're showing all of us how to navigate the twists and turns in life with grace, strength and faith.
Mom, you’ve helped me understand what it means to be a parent (although I’m far from perfect). Thank you for teaching me the power of unconditional, limitless, steadfast and unwavering love. I owe you one.