Monday, April 15, 2013

For Mom.


For My Mom

This a few months late.  Actually, it’s probably a decade late.  This is something that should have been said so very long ago.  This post is for my mom.  You know, any idiot can be a mother, but it takes an angel to be a mom.

My mom was there for my siblings and I every minute of every hour of every day.  When we needed a ride to a school function or help making some project, she was one driving or picking up supplies.  My mom taught me to sew and cook and paint and coordinate colors and put on makeup.  My mom taught me what it meant to be a woman, and what it meant to be a lady.  (The two, as I have learned working at a late night bar, are not always the same.)  My mom helped me develop my independence, and taught me to take care of myself.  She taught me to work hard.

What am I talking about?  She is still teaching me and helping me grow.  When I am cooking some new dish I have to call her a dozen times to check times and consistency and temperatures and the best way to serve.  She is always thinking of ways to help me decorate and arrange my apartment.  I may not always take the advice, but I know that not all mothers care even half as much as she does.

But my mom doesn’t just take care of her children, she has been there to support my dad and help him build a home (more than a house) full of laughter and love and comfort.  She also helps her parents, her siblings, my paternal grandparents, and countless friends and neighbors.  I get frustrated sometimes with some people because I don’t know if they realize how truly special she is.  She drives people to Kansas City and Columbia for medical appointments.  She checks in on animals when people are gone from home.  She paints and wallpapers.  She fills in at the local variety store during big flower delivery holidays and whenever the owner needs to leave town.  She volunteers for town fundraisers.  She purchases gifts for a family in need at Christmas.  How could anyone not see how amazing this woman is?

For years I didn’t think I would ever have children.  The biggest reason for this belief was that I never thought I could ever be as good a mom as she is.  Now I know that everything she did for me ultimately has taught me how to be a rock star like her.  And I know that when I do have kids, she’ll still be there teaching me.  

These lessons were not always easily learned.  I know she struggled a lot with helping me grow up.  But she did it with grace and patience.  We butted heads many times throughout my adolescence.  Now I realize that it is because we are so much alike, and I really love that.  I am becoming more and more like her all the time.  I hear her voice in my laugh, and see her squinty-eyed smile on my face.  There is no Hallmark card in the world to ever thank my mom for being so awesome.  There is no country song with the right words or melody to describe how much I love her.  I can only hope that when she reads this she will get a tiny idea of what she means to me.  And I hope that as I continue to grow and learn and become more of a woman, she will see herself in me and be proud.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

For My Daddy


            I’ve often heard the old adage that women fall in love with men who are very similar to their fathers.  Proof of this idea is pretty much all around us if we look.  In some instances, this is a very sad truth to face.  Not every girl is lucky enough to have a dad to set a good example of what a real man is.  Not every girl has someone to tell them from a very young age just how precious they are and how much they deserve.  I am one of those lucky girls.
            My Dad worked very hard to provide for his family.  We had everything we needed—and most of the things we wanted—because he spent months away from home every year putting food on the table and clothes on our backs.  Some may argue that he could have made a good living closer to home.  Maybe he could.  But he is my Daddy and I’m not going to second guess or criticize his decisions.  His traveling is probably what got me interested in seeing things outside our little rural area of Missouri.  His work ethic was passed along to all of his children.
            Now, as a woman of marriageable age, my Dad means even more to me.  I haven’t had many relationships in my life—at least not ones that lasted very long.  In past, I wondered if it wasn’t because there was something wrong with me.  Now I realize that it was because none of them were real men.  None of the guys I dated in the past could even begin to compare to the man my father is.
            I was waiting for a man who would be caring and gentle, but wouldn’t be a pushover.  A man who knew what it meant to be a good person; help his neighbors and friends.  A man who would make me feel safe, but excited about life at the same time.  A man with a great laugh, and a strong sense of character.  That is who my Dad is, and that is the kind of man I will marry.
            I’ve been waiting for a man who will look at me the way my Dad still looks at my Mom.  A man who will stay by my side through thick and thin.  A man who will encourage me, and inspire me.  A man who might not always agree with me, but will respect my opinion.  A man who will respect me enough to argue with me, and stick it out through the rough times.
            For any girl who has a Dad as awesome as mine, count your blessings every day.  For those who don’t, remember to actively seek out a man who will be a good father for your children.  For the men who are good dads, keep it up.  Your sons need to know how to be good men and your daughters need to know what they should be dating.  Here’s to good dads, especially the best dad: Mine.