As soon as I turned 18, well actually, as soon as I graduated from high school at 17, I was determined to act like an adult. And that meant I didn’t need my parents anymore – I could do it on my own.
This wasn’t an act of defiance against my parents, but an act of respect for everything they had done for me and taught me. I wanted to show them that I could do it on my own. I always knew they were there for me if I needed them, but I wanted to show that I could do it, that they’d shown me the way. That I could pay my bills. Fight my battles. Succeed on my own with the life lessons they had taught me.
What I didn’t realize until years later, was that this hurt my parents, my mom especially. Not in a painful, I abandoned them way, but my mom missed “mom”ing me. She wanted to take care of me. She wanted to still cook my meals, and give me advice, and help me through my struggles. I didn’t realize that what I thought was an act of neediness, was exactly how she wanted to show that she cared – by being there for me. I learned this finally when I was 22 years old and unbelievably sick with mono (or what I now know was probably the beginning of my celiac disease – retrospect!). She came all the way out (I live 6 hours away from them) to take care of me when my husband (then boyfriend) was away for the weekend. To cook and clean and care for me, like I hadn’t let her since I was a kid. When I saw how happy she was to be there for me, I realized what I had taken away.
Well, I hope she still feels that way, because for the past 4 months she has been my rock. It seems like I call her more when things are bad then when they are good, because when I first started getting sick I would call her daily for a dose of Dr. Mom and sympathy. She has been there for me and right there with me throughout my celiac diagnosis and struggle to recover. Mom researched as much as I did. She learned about the gluten-free diet and started sampling products before I even did. She has even ventured into gluten-free baking before I’ve had the guts , just so she could bring me some treats when they came to visit. She is the only person I would trust to cook/bake for me, because she knows it all as well as I do. She understands the risk of cross-contamination, and the steps to prevent it. She is my advocate, my strength, and my biggest cheerleader. She holds me up when I am down, and there is still nothing that beats a cuddle with my mom.
My mom told me a story. My sister is always worried her kids are growing too fast (I’d have to agree) and was worried about the day they stop cuddling with her. She asked my mom, “When did us kids stop cuddling?” And mom replied, “Kelly still does.”
I love my mom with all my heart. I don’t know how she did it all. She was that TV super mom, that kept a clean house, and had breakfast on the table every morning when we woke up, and packed our lunches daily, and worked outside the home, and volunteered for our activities and on and on and on. I can only hope to be half as good a mother to my future children as she has been to me.
Love you mom! Happy Mother’s Day!