I often feel that I have never thanked my mother enough for resisting the urge to drop me off at a fire station in my youth with a note pinned to my shirt stating “Free to a good home.”
No, for some inexplicable reason, she stuck with me through thick and thin.
And this was not easy to do, because I’m here to tell you that I was not an easy child to raise. I was fearless and foolhardy. I was the kid that the older kids would dare to do things because they knew I would do it. Heck, I would often do those things even if no one dared me to.
Jump off the roof of the house? Sure, why not! This towel tied around my neck as a makeshift Superman cape would protect me. What could possibly go wrong?
Ride a chain-less, brake-less bicycle with no handlebars down a rocky trail into a deep canyon? Sign me up!
Wander two miles away from home, at the mature and worldly age of five, all by myself, across busy streets and highways, to a store that I was “pretty sure” lay in that direction somewhere. Only to be brought home in a police car. Hey … who doesn’t like to see their 5 year old son come home in a police car?
Race my bicycle down a steep street with a stop sign and an intersection at the bottom as fast as I could go … while standing upright up on the seat, with my arms outstretched to either side. What’s not to love about THAT idea?
Celebrate my graduation from high school by leaving her a note that I had hopped a freight train and that I would call her as soon as I ended up somewhere that had a payphone. And if I could find a quarter. What Mom wouldn’t love to get a note like that? (P.S. I made it back home 2 days later being thrown off the train hundreds of miles from home and after very narrowly avoiding arrest for trespassing.)
No, my Mom has put up with a lot in my life, and not once did she stop loving me. She has always been my strongest supporter, my most enthusiastic advocate, and my amateur doctor when I needed bandaging up (which was often). She talked me off of many emotional ledges when I was going through my teen years. She soothed me those many times when the girl in my class whom I thought I couldn’t live without turned out to not even know I existed.
And, as a single mom, she kept me clothed and fed and a roof over our heads. She taught me manners. She civilized me. She taught me that I did not have to be a victim of circumstance, but that I could rise above anything and be anything I wanted to be. She got me through college (again, on a single mom’s income). She taught me the value and beauty of a strong faith in God. She taught me to do the right things, and to avoid the wrong things. She taught me the value of family. She taught me that, even though we were poor, we were as good as anyone, but not better than anyone.
She has always been here for me, from the moment I was conceived, until now. She has handled my many mishaps and misdeeds and foolhardy adventures better than anyone else could have done. And through it all she has loved me and believed in me and done all she could for me to help me be successful. In fact … I am successful because of her.
So … thank you, Mom. I love you.