To My Momila (in Celebration of Mother's Day)

When thirty of us returned home from floating down the river during our wedding weekend; many of us were tired, sun-dazed, ridiculously intoxicated, and prepared to ingest anything within reach. We were as some would say, "in rare form". It was 110 degrees, cloudless, and we had spent a good six hours out on the river sharing bottomless beers, jello shots, lime-a-ritas, and various energy drinks. It was a real shit show by the river's end.

There is not a whole lot that made enough of an impression at the end of that trip for me to have maintained a memory in the state I was in. Except one. When we arrived home, my poor mom was a sweaty mess. She was short tempered and absolutely exhausted. My mom did not go out on the river with us. She had agreed to stay behind and help with the barbecue. She thought she would have help, but ultimately she spent the day all by herself grilling enough food for fifty people in the Arizona heat.

I wish I could say that I was more observant, more aware of the situation and how hard she had worked at the time, but I wasn't. I was drunk. I was barely functioning. I was in a whole different frame of mind. And when the first thing she said to me in exasperation was, "I thought other people were going to be here to help"; I tried explaining that I thought so to, but I was also irritated at her irritation, because, you know, I was just trying to have fun.

She reminded me that she had yet to sleep...since the night before the wedding. After the wedding she stayed up all night cleaning. I still haven't processed this.

She was awake when I woke up to organize the coolers for the float trip and I remember telling her how crazy she was. She later told me she thought she would nap during the day while we were all floating but it just didn't work out. When we returned and I tried to talk to her, she was completely exhausted and had reached her breaking point. I was a mess and had similarly reached a "fuck it" point in the wedding weekend where not everything was going exactly like I planned and I no longer wanted to care about maintaining all the particulars.

She was confrontational and I told her to just go to bed. I'm pretty sure I was a bitch about it.

I can sit here and attempt to excuse my actions by saying how planning and organizing even a small backyard wedding can be a little stressful. I can add how creating a wedding weekend with friends and family all shoved together like some crazy experiment in forced societal chaos might bring even the most organized person to the brink of insanity. And I can also say that I was trying hard to include everyone in everything...a later realized impossibility. But all of that isn't important.

I absolutely hated seeing my mom so worn down that day. I hated how she was so tired she could cry, and I hated that with everything she did, my response was not simple gratitude. My mom was invaluable that weekend, completely indispensable. She should have received accolades and awards instead of being treated like some poorly paid worker monkey. And while my guilt over this situation is what has primarily driven this post up to this point, it's not exactly my intention.

The efforts made by my mom did not shock me. She has supported my decisions and my actions consistently since before I knew I was even being supported and most definitely before I realized that not everyone has people like that in their lives. I have always said how lucky I was growing up with my parents. There has never been a single occasion when I've questioned whether or not they care for me and I know that what was in our best interest was always on their minds.

My mom attended every single swim meet that I remember participating in. She watched all of my synchronized swimming performances, even when she wasn't my coach. Plays, award shows, graduations, musical performances (I was pretty good at the recorder in fifth grade and played a mean set of songs on the bells in first), choir performances, softball games, basketball games, anything and everything school related or not, my mom was always there.

For years my mom was my sounding board. I'd come home from school and she'd listen as I spewed out insignificant super important details of my day. She knew every one of my friends, probably just as good as I did. My mom was a full-time mom even though she worked a full-time job.

I wanted to write this because Mother's Day is this weekend and it seems appropriate that I acknowledge all of the little things my mom has done for me over the years. But I'm noticing this is kind of an impossibility, a task way too large and full of too many instances of just how good a mom she is.

So instead...

I would not be who I am today if it weren't for you and dad. I want you to know how much I love you and how much I miss having you and dad close to me. I am incredibly proud of you in your new job. I know I've said it before, but thank you for all of your help over the weekend of my wedding, and on a much larger scale, thank you for all of your mommying over the last 35 years. I hope you know that not everyone is cut out to be a parent. I say that because I see poor parenting showcased all the time in the lives of my students. It is not an easy task and as I've mentioned already, I feel extremely fortunate for the childhood I had...because of you and dad.

If I ever have children myself (weird), I hope that I can be as good a mom as you have been for me. I love you and hope to see you soon. I won't make you cook all day. I'll cook for you.



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