1992, Second Grade
Some girls obsessed over Wilson Phillips and others New Kids on the Block, but not me. Whitney Houston was the star who shone the brightest in my world. She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen and her music was beyond anything I had heard in all of my 7 years.
I fell in love when I watched the Bodyguard from my best friend Stacey’s staircase; we weren’t allowed to watch it and her parents were watching it in the living room below. I sat at the top of that staircase and my whole world changed over the course of two hours and ten minutes. I longed to be the beautiful, difficult, and guarded Rachel and wanted to boss Frank around, teasing him with my beauty and driving him mad with my mood swings and self indulgent behavior. Oh to be grown up.
A couple months later I cut my hair just like Whitney, chin length and a little shorter in the back, I felt like a star. A little later that year I rocked the Justin Timberlake cut. That was not because I idolized him…or even knew who he was, it was just a really bad haircut. It was very traumatic.
Christmas Break-I had a huge crush on a much older guy. He was a 5th grader named Shane, a real bad boy and he had no idea how I felt. One day while playing at my friend Nicole’s house and I decided it was time to come out with my feelings, so I called his house and when no one picked up, sang “I Will Always Love You” on his family message machine. I never heard back.
That May I made my mom a card for Mother’s Day. It was beautiful with lots of hearts and flowers drawn all over it. Inside it read,
Happy Mother’s Day! If I had to choose between you and Whitney Houston as a mom, I would choose you.
Wow. How lucky my mom must have felt to know I chose her over WHITNEY. I hope she realized what an honor that really was!
And then I grew up.
And through all of those years she took care of me. At times taking second and third, fourth place in my world, yet I remained number one in hers. She played the bad cop. She didn’t try to be my friend and she didn’t care whether or not I liked her decisions. She raised me to respect, and be kind, and help those less fortunate. I, often selfish and she, unconditional… over, and over, and over, and over again. Sometimes I’m enthusiastic and joyful and other times short and irritable. I doubt she ever really knows what version of me she’ll get on the other line when she calls, but she calls…all the time. Whether I listen to her advice or leave it on the table, she’ll always offer, with positivity and enthusiasm. She brainstorms, and guides, and reassures, and makes light. She pulls me in when I’ve strayed too far and brings me back to earth when I’ve soared a little high. She’s my mom.
I went through a hard breakup just a little over one year ago and assumed I’d return to an empty apartment after a work trip to clean up and move on my own, but she stepped in and owned my situation at a time when I wasn’t really owning myself.
Grateful, loved, impressed. The words that best describe how I’m feeling saying goodbye to my sweet momma tonight. She volunteered to drive from St. Louis to Denver with me, not for a vacation but to keep me company on the thirteen hour journey back to a half empty apartment. She helped me pack up my entire place, clean it, move me to another, cleaned more, unpacked and decorated, slept with me the first few nights to help me get comfortable, built furniture, taught me how to use a drill and an anchor, cooked us meals, ran errands, checked my oil, taught me how to monitor my oil, stood on a scary wobbly chair on my bed to create the most magical tulle backdrop, all while terribly, awfully sick. She is the true definition of selfless and loving. Thanks mom, for every single thing. You’re incredible and if I get half of your shining qualities, I’ll consider myself blessed. I’m thankful I’m yours.
More than likely, she’s probably like your mom. The love of a mother, we’re all so lucky.
Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours,