I'm so lucky to have such a beautiful, kind-hearted, sweetie of a mom! She's stylish with a little sassiness, but is also one of the most gentle, down-to-earth people I know. She has always been patient and understanding with my brother and I. I wish I was more like her!
In honor of this special day, I'm going to reflect on some of my favorite memories with my mom, Becky. There are so many, but these are the ones I hold closest to my heart - some were filled with laughter, some were filled with stress and confusion, but all were filled with L-O-V-E!
1. My Childhood Pets: My mother let me have SO many cats when I was a kid. At one point, we had something like 18 outside kitties. Each and every one had a name, and each and every one was fed each day. Why and how she put up with that, I'll never know... she always loved her flower beds, and I can clearly remember the cats digging up the mulch, doing their business, and hiding in/tearing up the bigger plants. When I was 8, she and dad gave in to my demands for a pet BIRD. We also "tried out" several new puppies, which we would always end up finding new homes for - but she was always willing to give just about any pet a shot. As I said before, patience and understanding.
2. Figure Skating: She watched nearly every single Kristi Yamaguchi performance with me from 1991-1994. Kristi won the Olympic Gold Medal in the '92 Winter Games... I cried, and Mom cried with me :) Crystal McCumbers (now Hayhurst) and I wrote Kristi fan letters, and Mom and I went to the post office and had to look in the gigantic U.S. zipcode directory for "Fremont, California" - we found it, mailed the fan letters, and Crystal & I both received return mail w/autographed photos a few months later. THANKS, MOM! (I still have the photo - it's signed, "Always Dream - Kristi Yamaguchi". It's stuck in my bible.)
3. Basketball: She went to every single Glade junior high b-ball game, made sure my uniform was always clean, and probably even ironed my socks. She always kept my b-ball shoes clean, too. After all... a girl's gotta look good on the court!
4. School Trips: these were painful for mom - she hated letting her baby girl go to places like Washington, D.C. and Toronto, Canada - but she always took me shopping for everything I needed, helped plan my outfits for each date on the trip itineraries, and made sure I had plenty of spending $$$ and film for the camera!
5. Boyfriends (aka lots of fighting on the telephone): Again... lots of patience and understanding. How she let the constant arguing go on between me and whoever the unfortunate significant other was, I will never know - I guess she knew her mouthy daughter would always have the last word!
6. High School Prom (Junior Year-2001) Dress Shopping: Mom was completely down with the Easter Grass Green organza poufy-skirt and alligator-scale top ballgown by Alyce Designs. And to top it all off, I had the Ginger Spice hair-do. If I had a picture handy, I would gladly post it!
7. The Big College Decision: I was settled on going to West Virginia Wesleyan College, which was about a 1 hour and 45 min. away from home. Suddenly, over the course of one weekend, I decided to go to Marshall - a way bigger school that was further away. She was supportive and did everything possible to help me get ready :) She believed in me and knew I would do great no matter where I went. And she is STILL like that when it comes to my adventures!
8. Dad/Summer '02: When dad passed away in the Spring of 2002, Mom held our family together. We pushed forward, I graduated, got my first job as a teller @ United Bank, and she started at a new job in nearby Summersville. Both of us worked all summer, spent the evenings together, and "made it" - things gradually looked up, and both of us grew in so many ways. Our relationship started changing from just Mother/Daughter to Mother/Daughter/Best Friends, and what a GREAT change it was! :) Given the circumstances, we really made the most of what we had and even started going to church together.
9. MOVE IN DAY: Prior to moving in to Twin Towers West, an all-girls dorm @ MU at the time, Mom washed all of my new bedding and towels so they would smell like "home" (I just had to throw that in there - it was a very sweet notion)... anyway, needless to say, we were both absolutely scared out of our minds the day I moved to Huntington. She did so well while helping me unpack. She made my bed for me, said a quick good-bye, and left. Thankfully, my brother was driving on the way home... because a little bird told me that she cried so hard as they headed out of Huntington! I don't think she was sad for herself - I think she was scared for me. But let me tell you... I was determined to make her proud. And I think I did...
10. Marshall: The four years I spent at Marshall were absolutely amazing. I grew so much, started learning who I really was, what I really liked, what i really wanted in life - and she was right there, on the phone every single night, listening to me talk about it all. She knew about every essay, every test, and every grade. She was there with me as I fell in love with Todd, and I was there to support her marriage to my step dad and the move to a new neighborhood. My Marshall student "era" came to an end when I graduated summa cum laude in May 2006. Graduation day felt like an official "wrap up" of so many changes that had occurred in the past four years - what a special day! When Robert C. Byrd, the commencement guest speaker, asked all first generation college graduates to stand during the ceremony, I really understood what I had just accomplished, and I know she did, too. I couldn't have done it without her. I always wanted to make her proud - and I still want to. I doubt that will ever change.
11. Wedding: I changed the theme about 900 times, and she loved every single idea (or at least, played along). When we finally settled on a classic black and white theme, it was such a relief! Several trips were made up Point Mountain to Elkins for dress fittings and wedding decor - we had so much fun! Well... I think both of us had fun. She may have been a nervous wreck throughout the whole process, but she always seemed calm and on top of things. She knew she would have a great son-in-law, knew that he and I would be just fine together... I really think her biggest concern may have been getting me home alive from the beautician on the wedding day. My head was bleeding from all of the bobby pins! (I asked for it - I didn't want my hair budging the entire day, and it didn't. Thankfully. Or there would have been hell to pay!) I wasn't too big of a total bridezilla, and I have mom to thank for that.
12. Today: Currently, mom is still being that patient, kind-hearted, understanding person that she's always been. I feel that she has complete faith in Todd and I and all of the things we do. I still call her every day, and we Facebook like crazy. Memories from the past four years include a bazillion trips to the Fiestaware Outlet in Flatwoods, the annual June trip to the Bath & Body Works Semi-Annual Sale here in Athens, watching We Are Marshall in the theatre during the Holidays in 2006, my 2009 Christmas Ornament painting (which will carry over into 2010 as well), and tons of others. Distance doesn't keep us from getting into new adventures and making new memories! Countless numbers of Crayola Markers, Barbies, Babysitter's Club Books, American Eagle t-shirts, Mary Kay Lipsticks, and Fiestaware dishes later, she's still surprising me with presents like I'm still her little girl. I always will be - and I like that. :)
So here's to memories of the past, the present, and the future - there are still lots to come. I'm so lucky to have such a great mom, and I hope that one day I can be as patient, kind, and wonderful to my children as she is to my brother and I!
Happy Mother's Day to all my lady friends! I hope your day is special!