I had dinner with my mom last night for an early Mother's Day celebration. We had a great time -- since she's been living about an hour away from me, I have to appreciate the time I get to spend with her even more.
I know that, if my mom had not decided to be a mom, her life would have been totally different. I'm not sure what she would have done -- maybe traveled the world, gone back to school for a different career -- whatever she chose, I'm sure it would have been something exciting and completely unexpected.
When I think about that, it occurs to me that as children, we have all, in a way, stolen our mother's lives. All those OTHER lives she could have lived -- she had me instead.
My mom was the "cool" teacher in my school, the band director, the cheerleading coach. She was one of those moms that other kids wished was THEIR mom. I wasn't, on the other hand, one of the "cool" kids. I used to think that if there had been an application process to be her daughter, I probably wouldn't have been picked out of all the other competition.
But I know she loved me. She gave me my love of books and music and movies that make me cry. She always tells me I look pretty, even when I probably don't.
I have learned so many things from her, both from her words and her example. That it's nobody's business but mine who I vote for. That white shoes should never be worn before Derby Day or after Labor Day. That great chili doesn't require a lot of fancy ingredients or even a recipe.
She taught me that it's never, ever, to late to start over in life and in love. That real love changes things you thought could never be changed.
And now that I'm supposed to be a grown-up, she's let me be her friend and not just her daughter.
This year for Mother's Day, I gave my mom an azalea. It was a nice one, but I hope she knows that I know it could never be enough to say thanks for everything she's given me.