I have to admit there have been times in my life that I’ve been foolish enough to believe I knew how much my mother loved me. I thought I had an idea what sort of sacrifices she made, and how completely she laid her life down for mine.
Now that I’ve had tiny fingers curl around mine… now that I’ve forgotten what a good night’s sleep is.. now that every toddler’s stumble nearly gives me a heart attack… now that my own life is on the back burner, I’m starting to realize what a rare gift a woman like my mother is. Portia Taylor, this blog is for you. Happy Mother’s Day… “You can tell everybody, this is your blog.” ;)
When I think back to early memories of my mother, I can’t find anything but love and fun. I remember reading books at bedtime (The Elves and The Shoemaker and Socks for Supper were a couple of my favorites), doing art projects with her and snuggling on the couch, relaxing to the slow, sure rhythm of her heart. Mom could make even the most mundane activity an exciting game, and since I have no siblings, she was often a most excellent playmate.
Mom is an artist, and has an extraordinarily creative mind. She used her creativity to “bend” the world to my reach. From my infancy, she was constantly coming up with ways for me to develop and adapt just like every other child. I believe the first adaptation she created would have been an arch that attached to the sides of my crib and dangled various toys at my feet so I could kick at something. She covered the arch with foil to make it extra shiny and I loved it. She was constantly coming up with ways to make my life a happy one, and though, in my childhood, I experienced breathing problems and several trips to the hospital, I had a mom who was always by my side. I have never been alone in my pain, not for one moment.
As I got a little older, I began, not to crawl, but to scoot around on my rear to be mobile. I walked at the average age, and began to gain more and more independence, as a child should. Later, she had loops sewn into the waistbands of my pants so I could hook my fingers into them and pull them up on my own. A special chair was made so I could eat with my feet at the table, and she made me a yardstick with a giant smiley-face attached to the end that I could lift up during class at school since I was unable to raise my hand.
The more independent I grew, however, the more boo-boos Mom found herself kissing. I was not able to catch myself with my hands if I fell, so I came home many times with a bloody face from falling on cement, and seven times she had to rush me to the hospital because my arms were unfortunate enough to get in the way as I fell, and were broken under my weight. Seven times she wiped her little girl’s tears away and, now as a mother myself, I can say with absolute certainty that the pain she was feeling was far worse than my own. We endured splints and casts and surgeries and rehab together. She spent nights in hospitals and weeks helping me recover. With such small, fragile arms, the weight of the cast itself made standing nearly unbearable, so for every trip to the bathroom, she gingerly held my arm, trying to relieve some of the pain. All of these breaks were caused by me doing normal little kid things… running, walking, going down a slide. The world must have looked like one big booby trap designed to break her little girl.
She bought me roller blades. She let me go sledding down big hills with ramps at the bottom.
She watched as Dad took the training wheels off my bike.
She handed me the keys to her car the day I got my license (age 16).
She waved goodbye as I boarded the plane to Spain. And Israel.
I am so thankful for the sacrifice my mom made so that I could grow to have confidence and independence. Though I’m sure her heart was full of worry when she strapped my roller blades on, she did it with a smile and insisted that I have fun. That is strength. And courage. That is the kind of mom I want to grow up to be.For me, at the time, these things were expected parts of life. If Mom had refused to let me ride my bike without training wheels, I would’ve been extremely upset (and humiliated), but nobody else would’ve blamed her. My parents worked very hard to make sure I never got the Memo that I was supposed to be unsure of myself or approach life differently than anyone else. What a precious gift for a person like me. But neither did I really stop to think of the risk I was taking, or how that felt to my parents.
I’m sure that I have much more to learn about what a mother’s love is, and more specifically my mother’s love. I know with time I will see more and more ways in which she is even now giving herself for me with a smile and a “have fun!”… that’s just how she is. I only hope that I can embody not only the “mother” kind of self-sacrifice, but the very “Portia” way of inspiring confidence in others when they need it most.
She has the most beautiful, giving heart I’ve ever known, and I’m so honored to call her my mother. If you know her, you know what I mean.
Thank you, Mom, for giving of yourself over and over again… in all the ways I’ve seen and all the ways I haven’t. Thank you for giving me love that I could never doubt and acceptance that will forever be my home.
Thank you for giving me the keys.
I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words… how wonderful life is while you’re in the world.