Saturday 10 May 2014

Moms = Very, Very Important.

Tomorrow is Sunday, May 11th, 2014. In case you missed the mass marketing in department and stationery stores and pretty much EVERYWHERE YOU GO, it also happens to be Mother's Day. I've been thinking a lot about moms lately, mostly because I'm excited to see mine in just over a month, I get a new mom-in-law in July,  and also partly because we have a soon-to-be mom here at VOTOlandia.  That's right. Nkrumeow is pregnant.  It finally happened.  Anybody want a kitten?

Baby bump!!!

Seriously.  We will be giving away kittens.  If you're in Ghana, please take one.  


Like I was saying, I've been thinking a lot about moms lately: how wonderful they are, how much strength and sacrifice it takes to be a parent, how much we take our parents for granted, and how lucky I actually am to have a mom who is still around.  And, also, tomorrow is Mother's Day. Being on an entirely different continent than my mom, it's a bit tricky to celebrate with her.  I could send flowers, but they're just going to die anyway.  I will call her, but I can call her anytime.  So I thought this time, instead of chocolates, flowers, candles that my mom probably doesn't need, I'd really open up and let her (and the world) know just how important she is.

Dear Mom, 

Today I Googled "mother" and got this:  

noun: mother; plural noun: mothers
1. a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.
* a female animal in relation to its offspring.
I also found this, which I highly enjoyed:
* an extreme example or very large specimen of something.
"I got stuck in the mother of all traffic jams"  synonyms: informal - humdinger, dilly, doozy, lulu, whopper

I thought that was pretty silly.  When people ask me about you, I don't say "Oh, my mom? She's just the woman in relation to me, to whom she has given birth. She is the female human in relation to me, her offspring" I mean, technically, you did grow me and give birth to me, but you are not just the vessel in which I lived my parasitic fetus-life until I was big enough to come into this world. Because this definition of "mother" comes nowhere close to defining how important you are, I thought I'd add to it.  Here are some of the things that I would include in my definition of you:

Wise, Intelligent, and Knowledgeable

Most adolescents and teens sometimes think they REALLY DO know everything.  Not shockingly, I was one such teen.  It's easy to feel all-knowing and unbreakable at that age, but most of the things I have learned came not from my friends, not from my teachers, but from you, Mom!  

You helped me think through the big and little things - from the most recent Math assignment Mr. Wolfe would send us home with, to the bigger life experiences, especially those really awkward transitiony ages between 12-14 when I had no social graces and was going through a number of changes that typically come with those awkward transitiony ages. 

You knew when to involve yourself in my affairs (even if I didn't appreciate them at the time), and when to let me figure things out on my own.  Even if I wanted to be on my own, you always made yourself available for counsel, just in case! I know that I have much, much more to learn from you yet, especially as I embark on a journey into marriage and parenthood in the future, and I am more than happy to listen to any advice and wisdom you may have for me in the future.

Unconditionally Loving

I highly doubt I was an easy child to love (according to the horror stories that have been recounted by other family members), but somehow, you still managed to love me, completely unconditionally, even when I almost drove your car into a post that one time.

I don't know how you did that, but I really appreciate all of the times you've shown me love without judgement or (non-constructive) criticism , even when I'm sobbing my eyes out over a breakup from a two-week old relationship in high-school ("my life is so over now!"), or belting it out, pretending to be one of the Spice Girls while singing along to "Say You'll be There" on repeat (over and over and over and over again).  

It's this type of love that allowed me the space to express myself, be creative, and explore my interests, and allowed me to grow into someone whole loves to learn, and who (tries to) accept people for who they are, despite their faults or vices, because hey, we all have them.


Mom, you're tough.  I'm not talking physically tough - I'm talking about that emotional toughness that comes from a lifetime of experiences and from raising children.  The kind of tough that you probably didn't realize you had until Rob was born, when you now not only had to take care of yourself, but you had to take care of a SECOND human life, beyond just keeping it alive.  That's a lot to take on.  Sure enough, Ric came into the world not to long after Rob, and now you had two boys on your plate.  Two very strong, energetic boys. 

Then, to top it off, 15 or 16 years later, when the boys could more or less take care of themselves, you were probably thinking that you'd soon get a break, and that soon you'd get to focus on you again.

But then I came along.

...Sorry about that, by the way.  Though really,  to be fair, I feel like it's Dad's fault. It's totally your and Dad's fault.  I retract my apology. Way to go, guys.

You really did need a lot of strength to take care of me.  Not only was I (as everyone in our family is wont to remind me) the mother of all terrible children, with frequent tantrums, meltdowns, and other selfish acts, but you had to deal with me after Dad passed away soon after I was born. Sure, you had help from the boys and family, but it was all on you from that point forward.

You've dealt with the loss of a husband, both parents, and a child.  These are incredible losses.  These are the kinds of things that leave permanent holes in our souls.  And yet, through all of this, you've managed to fill those empty spaces with love, happiness, and resilience.  When I see you, I see someone full of life, joy, self-sufficiency, someone I look up to, and one doozy of a tough lady!

Tough Lovin'

Though you were probably easier on me than Dad might have been, you still didn't go easy on me.  And even though, much to your frustration, other people gave into my whims (I assume to mostly get me to stop crying), I'm glad you didn't cave when I screamed my head off because you wouldn't buy me a toy that I so desperately wanted (besides, Ric would just buy it for me later anyway).  I'm glad that you (literally) dragged me out of the mall when I wouldn't stop tantruming (I'm making "tantrum" a verb now.  I'm verbing the noun.) in the mall.  

I'm glad that you never let me get away with doing things I (probably knew I) shouldn't be doing, and I'm glad that you were always straight with me when I was being a brat.  Because of this, I feel as though I've turned out to be a pretty cool human being who is grateful for everything in my life. Thanks for setting me on the straight and narrow.


Mom, you're one of the most selfless people I know.  When I think back on my life, there are so many instances in which you've gone out of your way to make myself or others feel good.  In fact, there are too many to list here, but you always made sure that "Santa" wrote back to me each Christmas, and that he ate the cookies we left out for him.  I'll never forget the Easter when you made (I mean, when the Easter Bunny made...) bunny paw prints track throughout the house to a number of Easter goodies (including ALL 4 Ninja Turtle action figures!! Yessssss!).  You always took, what I now realize as an adult, your very precious and limited time to sit through the probably-not-as-funny-as-we-thought skits and made up commercials that Lindsay Smithson and I would prepare for you after school.  That, truly, is an act of selflessness. Thanks for letting us be creative in your kitchen!

Even in times of grief and sadness, you think about everyone else and put others' needs first.  I'll always remember what a shining example of selflessness you demonstrated when Ric passed away Christmas morning almost ten years ago.  Even though you were going through something a parent should never have to go through, you still made Christmas dinner and prepared dessert so that your grandchildren could have a (relatively) happy Christmas Day.  I don't even know how you did that, but I do know that my level of respect and admiration for you shot up even higher that day.  

Best Friend (awwww)

I have a good amount of friends, all whom I'd describe as a best friend in one way or another, but you, Mom, are the bestest best friend I could ever have.  To rip-off Josh Ritter, if all my best friends are stars, you're the northern lights. Who else would voluntarily wear matching jackets covered in hideous orange, black, and purple geometric shapes when I was a child, or learn how to do a french-braid just for me? Or sit with me and laugh ourselves silly at the not-really-that-funny videos of America's Funniest Home Videos?

Thanks for always being there to listen to my "problems" and summaries of the latest, awesomest movie I just saw, and for binge watching shows like 24, Lost, and Six Feet Under with me while we gorged ourselves on popcorn. Thanks for helping me make plastic canvas Christmas ornaments, for showing me how to make beeswax candles, and for teaching me how to be crafty in the church-bazaar kind of way. I can't wait to develop an even deeper friendship with you as we get older!

Love you, Mom <3

There's a dilly of other amazing things about you, mom, but I would break the internet with a content-overload so I'll leave it at that.  Simply put, you're a whopper of a mom, and I'm so thankful and grateful that you're MY mom! 


But Wait, There's More!

There are a number of other mothers in my life, all of whom have taught me something here and there along the way, and I couldn't end this post without briefly thanking those other amazing women:

My grandmother: My last remaining grandparent, and as tough as adamantium.  Thanks, Bonnie, for always making sure I'd had enough to eat before going out of the house, for sharing your wisdom with me, for always making time for me, and for teaching me to be kind to others and kind to myself. And though I never picked it up, thanks for attempting to teach me how to knit.  I'm sure I'll get it one day. Can't wait to see you in June!

Love you, Bonnie! <3

Lorna Chappell, Godmother-extroadinare: My mom's best friend, and wisdom imparter.  Thanks, Lorna, for teaching me to love the finer aspects of music, crafting, and for showing me the secrets of painting and drawing! Thanks for endless nights of Careers, Contract Rummy, and Spite and Malice, and for sharing your love of Star Trek.  Also, thanks for letting me and Jessica make a mess of your kitchen with poorly executed cinnamon buns and purple icing - I know how much patience that must have taken!

Love you, Lorna! <3 (The awesome dude in this photo is my equally amazing Godfather, Winston! Love you, Winston! <3)

All of the moms in my family, like my sister-in-law, aunties and my cousins, with honourable mention to Vicky Ayotte -, who not only took me off of my mom's hands in the summer time, but gave me a humdinger of a spanking that finally set me straight for good.  (My mom thanks you, too!)

All my friends' moms I've ever known, most notably Shelly Rayner, Carmen Milenkovic, Donna Smithson, Anita DeGoede, Judy Hume, and Lesya Nahachewsky, to name a few, for raising really awesome friends for me to hang out with, for sharing your cooking with me, and for letting me stay at your house to hang out for hours with said awesome friends, and for putting up with our crazy antics! They say you're only as awesome as the company you keep.  I keep some pretty incredible company, but I really have to thank their moms who raised them to be awesome too!

All my friends and colleagues who are moms themselves: Oriana Watt, Jenn Chevrier, Jen Bond, Sharon Harvey, Shannon Welch, to name a few - thanks for sharing your infinite wisdom and experiences on parenting with me, and for also being awesome friends to boot!

To all the moms in the world: You go, girls.  Mad props.

And, lastly, but certainly not least(ly?), Rosalie Boots, my very soon to be mother-in-law - thank you for your warmth and kindness (and baking!!!) every time we meet, and for raising a son who is the most loving, thoughtful, intelligent, caring, ambitious, driven, and most amazing person I could ever know and love.  You've done very well, indeed, and I'm so thankful that you are in this world!

So to my mom, to my mother-figures, and to all the moms in the world - Happy Mother's Day! This is for you:

TL;DR: I love my mom. My mom rocks. Other moms rock too. Boyz II Men video.

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