Thanks for the memories, Mom
Ryan Summerlin May 6, 2014
My mom is the world’s greatest, and I’m most certainly biased.
I need a T-shirt for her like they make for dads.
My mom and I are close, so I can’t help to sing her praises. The fact that she put up with my ongoing, relentless teen sarcasm throughout my high school career qualifies her. Like a snowflake, every mother-daughter relationship is different. Some are simple. Many are complex.
Others probably can’t be put into words.
This Mother’s Day, I can’t help but think of how much my mother has gone through in the last year, and how our shared grief has tightened our relationship. I didn’t even think that was possible. On April 12 of last year, my mom lost her dad to aspiration pneumonia. Five months later, her stepmother of 33 years, who suffered from Alzheimer’s and was able to have home health care after my grandfather’s passing, followed.
I know she knew he was gone.
My mom was always close with her dad. She still called him Daddy, like when she was a little girl. I always thought was the sweetest sentiment considering he was 87 and she was 60-something.
A daughter never reveals her mother’s age.
Grandpa liked to call my mom No. 1 Daughter, because she was first-born. She really is the tops. She spent the year prior to my grandparents’ passing closely helping my grandpa as he coped as caregiver for a disease that robbed his wife of her memory and life’s normal functions. My mom and her dad lived about a mile from each other, so she was often down at his house or vice versa.
Sometimes every day.
After they were both gone, my mom was spot on when she told me nothing in life would ever be the same. Those are difficult words to hear from your own mother’s mouth. That’s mostly because, as always, she was right. For the first time in all our own lives, my mom, brother and I couldn’t celebrate Christmas with my grandpa. I couldn’t call him on his birthday on Jan. 12. And my mailbox was definitely missing that birthday card he never missed sending.
All of my life.
This weekend, I’m thankful to be with my mother as we celebrate Mother’s Day. She is my inspiration and my biggest cheerleader. I give my mom credit for everything I’ve ever achieved. She has always been there to provide moral support and advice, and when I haven’t taken it that usually ends up being a poor decision on my part. Especially when it comes to dating. She can always, and I really mean always, tell when a love interest doesn’t truly care for me.
She has a sixth sense about it.
Lately, I’ve been asking my mom a lot about my early childhood, starting from the moment she gave birth to me au naturel. That’s a feat I consider nearly impossible because of my ridiculously low tolerance for pain. She’s my hero for being tougher than I could ever imagine and bringing two children into this world. We didn’t always make it easy on her.
Especially from the beginning.
Speaking from experience, I consider my mom the greatest in the world for many reasons, outside of the fact that she gave birth to me. In elementary school, my mom knew early on from my teachers that I had a creative imagination. I could always write a story, so she encouraged me to pursue it. I entered an essay contest for the American Legion, won and met Sen. John Lugar of Indiana. In middle school, I ran for student council and my mom supported me in my run for office and helped me make small construction paper umbrellas with an April Showers theme, followed by an A-Team campaign the next year.
If she smoked a cigar, she would be Hannibal.
In high school, my mom never missed one of my tennis matches, all four years. At the elementary school where she worked as a custodian and later retired as a team leader, she switched to third shift so she could see me play a sport I loved. She volunteered for the after-prom committee and went to just about every football game because she supported my high school’s athletics as much as I did.
We went to a couple of games in the fall to root on my alma mater for old time’s sake.
This is definitely an Indiana thing, but one of the biggest sacrifices my mom made for me is when I decided to attend Purdue University. She had been a huge IU (Indiana University) basketball fan, especially during the Steve Alford and Damon Bailey days, and now I was turning to the competition for my collegiate education. She turned in her crème and crimson IU sweatshirts for Purdue gold and black and never complained. Not once.
I think a World’s Greatest Purdue Mom sweatshirt is on order.
— April E. Clark would like to wish happy Mother’s Day to all her new-mom friends in the valley. You know who you are. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.