I hope my mom knows how grateful I am to have her as my mother. She has done so much for me over the years though I may not have always shown my gratitude properly.
As the oldest of 4 girls, I was more aware of the sacrifices she made for us then my sisters seemed to be. She had help from her own mom, but most of my life she raised us by herself and when I was around 12 she had the added burden of caring for her own mom, as my grandma had a series of major strokes and dementia began to set in. I can only begin to imagine how difficult it was for her, especially on an emotional level when her own mom often times did not recognize who she was- her first little girl. I know it was difficult for even me, the first grandchild to feel forgotten.
I never doubted my mom wished she could be home more with me and my sisters, but that just wasn't a possibility, someone had to bring home a paycheck to pay the bills with. And somehow my mom pulled it off. She supported almost solely her 4 daughters as well as her deteriorating mother. She is amazing!
Growing up though I could sense the stress from her and I did my best to show my appreciation by behaving and trying to keep the peace as often as possible. But I was still a kid, and a kid that did not get along with one sister in particular, who had a short fuse. It wasn't hard to press her buttons without even trying, and once she went off, I couldn't help but feel riled up inside myself and I would retaliate. Of course my mom would dole out discipline as necessary, but I always felt so guilty for causing her any grief and I repented immediately in my heart for whatever I had done. Of course it would still happen again in the heat of yet another moment when my defenses would go down.
As I grew, my mom even helped me to get a job. I worked at the thrift store she managed. Though in efforts to not display favoritism, she was actually harder on me. I understood why, I was just happy to have a job. I knew it helped take some of the pressure off of her for me to be able to have my own money to spend instead of running to her constantly for some cash.
After I met Jon and got married, she even let us live with her for the 1st year so that we could save some money (I still have no clue where all that 'extra' money went- we certainly hadn't learned to save any then!). And again when Jon was sent to Cuba for 6 months, I packed up a barely one year old girl and moved across the country back into my mom's home as she welcomed me with open arms. And I sure took advantage of my time there, as I would sneak off as Natalie slept knowing my mom was home, so I could go out and spend time with the friends I had missed after I left home. She never complained once about watching her granddaughter- and of course I tried to be as considerate about it as possible!
Since leaving home and being on my own, my mom is still always there to help me out when I need it. She is currently caring for my dog, Diamond, while we are overseas so that we didn't have to put her through a flight here, and so we didn't have to get rid of her. And now, as of last week, she has offered to help us cover the cost of tickets to come home for my sister's wedding later this year. I am so thankful for the opportunity she has provided us, and everything she has done for me as I grew up.
Thank you so much mom, for everything you do and have done!! I love you!!