I remember the assignment quite well. The elementary school teacher gave us the prompt I Love My Mom Because… and we had to write a rough draft. When we finished the draft and had it edited, we copied it on fancy stationery.
The entire fourth grade class submitted their I Love My Mom Because stories and one would be chosen from each school to be framed and displayed at 29 Supermarket in honor of Mother’s Day. While I cannot remember exactly what I had written, I clearly remember this line:
I love my mom because when my parakeet chirps, she says she’s going to suck it up in the vacuüm, but I know she’s only kidding.
In a frame on the wall at the local grocery store, I was able to publicly profess my love for my mother.
Twenty-four years later, I now have greater platforms to embarrass my mom: Social media and a blog! Here is my 32-year-old version of the I Love My Mom Because assignment:
I Love My Mom Because…
My mom loves birthday cake. How can you not adore someone who comes home with a birthday cake? A birthday cake for someone, somewhere, having a birthday; therefore, we should eat cake. Everyday. Not only does she love birthday cake, she can convince an entire room full of people to sing Happy Birthday to that someone who is somewhere celebrating a birthday.
I love my mom because she reminds me how much it hurt bringing my 8 pound 2 ounce naked rear-end into this world. Mom doesn’t hold back when she tells you her four labor and delivery stories. My mom’s honesty about the entire birthing process is probably why I spent years of my life convincing myself that adoption is the way to go. She proudly announces that she never had an epidural, but through the agony of childbirth, she introduced me to my three best friends.
People leave a legacy behind and I like to think that much of my legacy has come from my mother. When I think of my mom, three things come to mind: Her sense of humor, her willingness to help anyone in need, and the delicious meals she prepares. While no one is going to remember me for any culinary excellence, two out of three is not bad.
There were times I didn’t appreciate my mom’s sense of humor. Like the time we were driving to the hospital because I sliced my foot wide open on a piece of glass. She told me they were going to disinfect it with rubbing alcohol. You can imagine the horrified look on my face when they put my foot over a garbage can and began pouring water on it to wash away the blood.
Or, the time Shannon and I came home from school and walked into the kitchen to find Mom “collapsed” on the floor covered in ketchup that we were supposed to believe was blood. Shannon and I did a synchronized eye-roll as we stepped over her to go watch television.
Our backpacks had barely hit the floor before we heard Mom holler, “You guys wouldn’t care if I died!” Shannon quickly responded with, “We’d care, Mom, but you left the empty ketchup bottle on the counter.”
I love my mom because she and dad taught me everything I need to know about practical jokes. They taught me how to get through hard times with humor.
I love my mom for dragging me to church on Sundays and pushing me through confirmation classes.
I love my mom for waking up at 3:00 AM to let me vent about the worst music gig I ever played in my life.
I love my mom because she’s a sound sleeper. A kid can have a lot of fun with this. We had Mom’s sleep cycle figured out and knew exactly when to ask questions like, Can we take money from your purse and walk to Dairy Queen? Mom’s deep sleep stage was a guaranteed YES to any question.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.
Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.
George Washington Carver
This quote is on a wall at work and is one of my favorites. The first time I read it, I thought of my mom. My mom is a caregiver. Through much of my life, I’ve watched her take better care of others than she has taken care of herself. Our parents shape who we become. Both my mom and dad were always helping others and I grew up learning the value of compassion.
I spent many hours of my childhood at Great-grandma Grace’s house. We were expected to help with cleaning, shoveling, and yard work for both Grandma as well as her elderly neighbor, Marion. There were days I would have rather been anywhere else, but Grandma always made it worth while with her homemade cakes, kolaches, and once in a while she’d even give Shannon and me $5 to go buy an ice cream cone.
I love my parents for making me do things I didn’t want to do. It is because of them I have a solid work ethic, but more importantly, I have wonderful memories of my grandparents.
People often tell me that I have a gift working with children and the patience of a saint. If you ever stop in and see my mom at work, you’ll know where I get this from. She works in a pediatric dental office and every time I see her there, she’s mingling with the kiddos.
She doesn’t talk down to them, but meets them at their level and uses her sense of humor brilliantly to make a warm and welcoming environment for the children that come through the door.
I love my mom because she gives the best hugs. One of my favorite hugs was the one she gave me at the airport when I met her and my sisters in Seattle. This was before I moved back from Alaska and I hadn’t seen her in six months. It was the type of hug that went on a little too long and would have been awkward to watch.
When she looked me over and declared, “You’re so little, I could pick you up and carry you on my hip!” it could have escalated into security involvement, so that was a good place to end it.
I love that my mom sings like Tanya Tucker and turned me on to country music at an early age.
Bless her heart, I love my mom for trying to find me a spouse, but I really love her for knocking that off.
I love my mom for never sucking my pets up in a vacuüm cleaner.
I love my mom for feeding people. When my mom prepares a meal, you never have to worry about bringing a guest because there is always plenty.
She is known for her sauerkraut and dumplings and is one of her most requested birthday meals.
A St. Patrick’s Day never goes by without corned beef and cabbage, even though she’s not Irish.
We peel ten pounds of potatoes and sometimes have three turkeys on the table at Thanksgiving. No one is allowed to go hungry at Mom’s house.
If you’re wondering why I’m writing this tribute to my mom today, it’s her birthday tomorrow. (February 17th!)
Back in 2006, I was living in Alaska when she sent me a Valentine’s Day care package. Inside, I found candy, chocolates, socks, and one of my favorite gifts— a coffee mug with the words Home is Where Mom is. In return, I sent this song home to her for Mother’s Day and moved back to Wisconsin in June of that year.
(Please excuse the awkwardness of my facial expressions. Singing in my bedroom to a camera is not within my comfort zone.)