Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!

Just last week, on a particularly crummy day when I was struggling to understand my role as a stepmom, my Mom reminded me that being a parent is extremely challenging and all too often, thankless.

For years throughout our childhood, and particularly during the teenage years, we take and take and take from our Moms (and our Dads too), without realizing the hundreds of small sacrifices they are making for us.

Fortunately, it is when we become adults (and sometimes parents ourselves) that we can finally begin to understand and appreciate everything our parents have done for us.  And on days like today – Mother’s Day – I often try to express just how much I love and appreciate my own Mom – although really there are no words that can perfect explain it.

My Mama, always there for me.

My Mama, always there for me.

For the last 35 years my Mom has loved me hard.  She’s laughed with me, scolded me, cuddled me, cried for me, worried about me, gave advice to me, and just been there for me every step of the way.  She’s been the best role model, the best source of support, and now, I am so lucky to say, she’s my best friend.

My mom knows me like no one else.  She knows when I need her (like the time when I was having a particularly bad day and she showed up at my house out of the blue to have a girls day).  She knows when I need a hug, when I need a shoulder to cry on, or when I’m better off to figure things out on my own.

Through all the stages, my Mom has been my biggest cheerleader.  She’s made sure I’ve had every opportunity in life and I am sure she often put her own desires aside to make sure I could have mine (like all those years she hurried home from work to make sure she could get me to dance class on time.  Oh, how I loved those dance classes!) I never lacked for anything and I still don’t.  When life gets tough, Mom’s wise enough to let me struggle but when I really need her, she’s there in a heartbeat to help however she can.

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I like to think I was a pretty “easy” teenager.  I always called to let my parents know where I was and who I was with.  I stayed out of trouble and tried hard in school.  But I know there were moments where I took my parents’ for granted.  Where I screamed “I hate you” when they wouldn’t allow me to do sometthing and slammed my bedroom door as hard as I could.  Oh, if only I had known then what I know now…

Now I know that I have the best Mom EVER (and Dad too, but in celebration of Mother’s Day we’ll just stick with Mom for now).  Now I know that I can never say thank you enough for the countless times that she’s put me first, for making me believe in myself and in the idea that I can do anything, and for loving me so hard.  Now I know that although my life has been blessed with so many wonderful friends, none of them will be a true friend like my Mom.  She “gets” me like no one else ever will and I am so proud to be just like her.

I’m not sure if other women love spending time with their Mom as much as I do but no matter the occasion, I absolutely love having my Mom with me throughout all of life’s experiences.  One of my favourite things to do with her is to go on little mini-holidays together.  For instance, I was thrilled to have her join my girlfriends and I on our trip to Toronto for my bachelorette party. My Mom was such a good sport and it meant everything to me to have her there.  A few years ago, we took a weekend trip together to Bracebridge to visit my old university roommate.  One of the best parts of that weekend was the car trip together – just talking about everything under the sun and having many laughs and silly moments along the way.  Other times, when Mom makes the trip up to Timmins to see me, we enjoy a lovely day of shopping and lunch, and just spending quality time.  Any time spent with my Mom is always so good for my soul.  She’s the best kind of company.  In fact, I always say that I am one of those people who could live right next door to my Mom and be perfectly happy for the rest of my life and it’s true (Although not sure what my husband would think of that…. )

In Toronto for my bachelorette weekend.

In Toronto for my bachelorette weekend.

I could go on forever about all of the things that make my Mom so amazing but as I mentioned earlier, no amount of words can precisely explain just how deeply I love her.  Mom, you are everything to me and I can never thank you enough for being the best Mom and the best friend a girl could ever ask for.  Happy Mother’s Day!  I love you.

 

Just a few of my favourites…..

At the pumpkin patch.

At the pumpkin patch.

Mom was with my every step of the way during my wedding planning.  I wouldn't have had it any other way!

Mom was with my every step of the way during my wedding planning. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

Mom & Dad took us all on a trip to Wonderland - here's me, Mom, and Mariah ready for the 3D movie.

Mom & Dad took us all on a trip to Wonderland – here’s me, Mom, and Mariah ready for the 3D movie.

Mom was such a trooper when she came with me to see the Backstreet Boys & New Kids!

Mom was such a trooper when she came with me to see the Backstreet Boys & New Kids!

My pretty Mom with some mums.  Bracebridge trip.

My pretty Mom with some mums. Bracebridge trip.

Fun day at the Pumpkin Patch with the girls and the grandkids.

Fun day at the Pumpkin Patch with the girls and the grandkids.

Watching my Mom become a Grandma has been so amazing.

Watching my Mom become a Grandma has been so amazing.

Love her silly and fun loving attitude.  She makes me laugh so much!

Love her silly and fun loving attitude. She makes me laugh so much!

The early days.

The early days.

I love you to infinity and beyond!

I love you to infinity and beyond!

My Mother – My Best Friend

In honour of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share this post that I wrote awhile back on International Women’s Day….

My beautiful Mama

My beautiful Mama

My Mom (who I affectionately call “Mama” at times) is not only an amazing mother but my truest and dearest friend.  There is no love quite like the love between my Mother and I.  I have no way of re-paying her for the years of unconditional love she has given me.  I don’t have enough words to thank her for everything she does for me and our entire family.  And I will never have enough words to truly express the love I feel for her, or the thousands of happy memories I have of our time together.  But I will definitely try.

Like her mother before her (another amazing woman, my Grandma Hayes!), my Mom is the true matriarch of our family.  It is because of her that are family gathers together at every holiday filling our stomachs with her delicious meals 100_6026until we are about to burst.  I have seen her plan, organize, cook, and prep for days to ensure that every last detail is perfect, not because she has someone to impress, but because it’s her way of showing how much she loves us.  I have seen my Mom work tirelessly at the same job for over 35-years to give her family everything they needed, wanted, or desired and even when she didn’t get recognition that she deserved, she continued to work hard simply because it was the right thing to do.  I have seen my Mom put her own time, schedule, priorities aside over and over again, to make sure others are happy, cared for, and loved.  It’s just what she does.  I just hope she knows how truly appreciated she is.

As mentioned earlier, I have years of memories with my Mama, but one that stands out in my mind, happened just a couple of years ago.  I was in the process of shopping for my bridal gown, and had had a disappointing first attempt at it.  Anxious to try on more gowns, I made a quick appointment at a shop here in Timmins, on a weekday night.  The plan was to bring my step-daughter Mariah and if I found anything I’d like, I’d bring my Mom back on another day.  So that is what we did – we shopped, I picked out some beautiful gowns, and the lovely sales lady eagerly stepped inside the dressing room to help me get into one of them. Then as she pulled back the curtain of the fitting room, so I could step out to show Mariah, there she was, her beautiful smile beaming from ear-to-ear: my Mama!  Overcome with happiness to have her there on such an important occasion, the tears flowed and my Mom enveloped me in one of her incredibly loving, perfect hugs. Later, my Mom told me she couldn’t just sit at home knowing I was trying on gowns somewhere else.  So she’d taken the next day off work, hopped in her car, and had driven 2-hours immediately after work to be with me!  Long story short, I didn’t find my gown that day, but the fact that my Mom knows when I need her and will do anything to be there for me, will always stand out as one my most favourite things about her.

My Mom & I on my wedding day.  She was there for me every step of the way.

My Mom & I on my wedding day. She was there for me every step of the way.

This memory of my Mom’s love is just one of thousands or more that will forever lie embedded in my heart.  And I know in the years to come, we will continue to make amazing memories and become even closer friends. She will be there for me no matter what comes my way, and knowing that is beyond reassuring.  I will get to watch her spoil and love her grandchildren, and feel so blessed that my kids get to call her “Grandma”.  I will cherish every moment, big or small, that we have together.  And most of all, I will aspire.  I will aspire to be a woman truly amazing as my Mama and her Mom before her.  I will work relentlessly, give of myself unconditionally, and more than anything, I will love fiercely.

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In Toronto – I was proud to have my Mom there to take part in my Bachelorette weekend! She was a real trooper!

Mama and me - circa 1981

Mama and me – circa 1981