Thursday, May 5, 2016

To Mom with Gratitude

Everyone says the same thing about their mom. One of the most cliche is that one's mother is their "best friend". I have always been really close to my mom. She's a remarkable human, but she is not and should not be my best friend. She's my mom. Even at the age of 37 she can still chastise me with a simple look. Now that I am have a child of my own I have an even greater appreciation for the fact that my mom is my mother and not my BFF. I love spending time with my mom. We have a lot in common. But ultimately even as an adult she's still an authority figure in my life. She still has my best interests at heart even above her own. She worries about me. She get frustrated with me and she loves me unconditionally in a way that nobody else ever has or will. It's a more important role than best friend.

With my mom at the Badlands in South Dakota
In this new world of parenting everyone is afraid to make their kids mad. Parenting is about making sure kids are happy and get everything they want. I have friends and acquaintances who are besties with their young daughters. It's hard to watch. My mom wasn't the world's strictest mother, but we did have solid rules. She let me stay up late at slumber parties with my friends. We always had all of our friends and neighborhood kids at our house because my mom is so fun and she's an awesome cook who would always open the kitchen to everyone. I told my mom pretty much everything growing up, and I felt comfortable with that. But it wasn't because we were best friends. My mom made the rules. My mom wanted me to tell her about my day, but she would also push me to do well in school and go to church. She created the much needed structure in my childhood, and I know that's a huge part of why I'm a successful adult.

Before my bridal shower in 2008
My mother raised four children largely on her own as my dad worked 12 hour afternoon shifts with very little time off. She didn't go on trips without us. She and my dad didn't do date nights. She didn't go out to the bar with her friends. She was always very active in church, and her faith makes me envious and proud. Her life was (and is) dedicated to God and her children, and I knew that. I appreciate that and her more than I'll ever be able to tell her.

A great candid at our wedding rehearsal dinner
Now that I am an adult of course my mom and I are friends. We've gotten our nails done. She and my dad have joined my husband and me for many vacations. We're going on vacation again together in July. We go out to dinner and watch fun things on television. But if I say something unkind I know I'll get a "Samantha Lynne" in that tone only my mom has, and at the age of 37 she's still first and foremost my mom. The mom/friend line never gets blurred. 

My parents meeting their grandson for the first time
There are no words I can type in a blog to express my unending gratitude for my mother. I can and will never say it properly. But I will try to emulate her in the way I parent my son. I will continue to try to make her proud. Thank you, Mom, for being my compass, and thank you for not being my best friend.   

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