To me, every day is Mother’s Day.
Sure, this Sunday, our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram feeds will be flooded with pictures of all of our friends with their Mothers, their Grandmothers, etc. Wonderful stuff, I can’t wait to see them all.
But is it really fair to squeeze the adoration, the love, the gratitude that our Moms deserve into one day? Of course not.
Let me take a minute to tell you a bit about my Mom.
Her name is Jane, and she is the greatest Mom ever to walk this green Earth.
That’s right, I said it. The. Greatest.
My Mom met my Dad at an Irish pub named Finnegan's in Huntington roughly 30-ish years ago. Clearly, my Dad had excellent taste in women; those early-80’s photos of my Mom and her curly brown hair would’ve gathered hundreds of Instagram double-taps if, you know, cell phones existed.
My Mom is a bright woman; she’s articulate, personable and quick on her feet. She drives a school bus for a living and, a few years back, she went back to night school to earn her paralegal degree. I have no doubt in my mind my Mom could do anything she put her mind to.
But 30-ish years ago, what was her “big move”? What was it that she decided to do, with every last bit of her inspiration, her motivation, her energy?
She decided to have a kid. In fact, a son, as it turned out. They’d call him Christopher.
Having given life to her first-born, my Mom and Dad decided four years later to do it again. This time, God delivered a daughter -- they’d call her Kerri-Lynn. (Though, in this generation driven by SMS-style brevity, the kids now go simply by ‘Chris and Kerri’.)
For years, these rugrats sought nonstop attention. I have no recollection of waking up at 2:30 a.m., screaming for a bottle and not stopping until Mom acquiesced -- although I’m quite sure that she does.
Let’s be clear -- as a kid, I was far from perfect, and, although she may publicly disagree, I wouldn’t call my sister a flawless angel, either. The growing pains of the big brother-little sister dynamic were both figurative and literal, as we battled for attention, identity and, well, more attention.
Luckily for us, our Mom did not keep attention in short supply. My Mom was ALWAYS there -- and when I say always, I mean ALWAYS.
Sometimes, my sister and I earned double or even triple points -- spending time with my Mom, my Mom’s Mom and even my Mom’s Mom’s Mom (RIP).
Sitting in a warm lap upon a rocking chair, having a book read to me, even before I had any idea what the words meant.
Playing center midfielder for the St. Hugh's church league blue team (or the yellow team, or the red team, or the green team …) at Washington Elementary, Mom enthusiastically cheering me on (while just slightly hedging her enthusiasm, praying to God I didn’t break an ankle).
Standing ashamedly behind the microphone at the Scripps regional spelling bee, listening to the buzzer after I mis-spelled the word ‘cicada’ S-e-c-a-d-a (to this day, I begrudge Jon Secada), and seeing Mom stand up and applaud me anyway -- and still award me with a brand new soccer ball she had waiting in the car, even though I blew it.
Taking the stage as the Master of Ceremonies at my High School graduation, mere hours before a hurricane was to envelop the North Shore, reading gestures from HHS administrators to “hurry it up,” in stark contrast to the emotion in my Mom’s eyes, hoping that I could somehow slow it all down.
* * * * *
Last week, I quit a wonderful job here in Binghamton to pour every bit of my energy, my focus and myself into a 90-day bachelorfest of baseball games, bad golf and craft beer. For this “bold decision,” I’ve received dozens of texts, calls, emails, Facebook ‘likes’ and pats on the back -- and, well, no paychecks.
And while I appreciate each and every message and prayer, it’s not me that deserves it.
Without the strength, the courage and the undying admiration of my Mother, none of this would be possible. Not the laptop I’m typing this on, not the bed I sleep in, not the roof over my head (for now), not the car I’m taking around the country.
None of it.
So right now -- posting this on Thursday -- forget about Sunday. Don’t take another minute for granted -- when you were zero years old, she sure didn’t.
Call your Mom. If you’re lucky enough, give her a hug. Say thanks, and mean it.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have Mom around. My best friend from high school lost her Mom -- the sweetest woman you’ll ever meet -- to cancer a couple years ago. My Dad never even had the opportunity to meet his Mom, who fled shortly after giving birth to him.
To me, every day is Mother’s Day.
And to you, Mom: Thank you. I love you. And I hope, this summer and beyond, I can continue to make you proud.