My love of travel? Probably more than a leeetle related to criss-crossing the country in our old push-start VW van (if you didn’t park that thing pointing downhill, you were gonna be really, really sorry) and waking up in campgrounds all over the country to the smell of ashes, coffee and dew.
My relative unconcern with food as “good” (carrot sticks) or “bad” (chocolate cake), and subsequent enjoyment of food as part of my life? I do not recall my mother ever, ever saying anything like “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips” or remarking on my appearance in an unkind way (okay. There was the perhaps less-than-chic phase in which I was experimenting with black lipstick, boots and torn fishnets when she finally said, without actually criticizing my appearance, that I wasn’t allowed to buy any more black clothing). I do remember her regularly endorsing a day-following-birthday breakfast of birthday cake (with a big glass of milk). And, since she was a championship marathoner, the woman ate like a horse. Actually... she ate more than most horses, as marathoners are apt to.
Any feelings about sports being “girl sports” or “boy sports?” Uh, not so much. My mom signed me up for ice hockey when I was 5, and embroidered little flowers at the neckline of my jerseys. I played on almost exclusively on boys’ teams until I was about 12. My mom was a ferocious advocate of sports for girls, and for the reasonable application of Title IX, and she was a tremendous athlete herself. I wasn't kidding about the championship marathoner bit; she could run fast.
But of course, as a child and young woman, I didn’t think about it at all. I travelled. I ate happily. I played sports without worrying about what people would think. I took the gifts my mom gave me for granted, as I hope my own children will take my gifts to them for granted.
But I do not, as an adult, take those gifts, or the love that came with them, for granted.
As I raise my own children, I have near-constant, small realizations of how very much my parents, and my mom, gave to me.
And so I have to say: thank you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day. You gave me, and all of your children, more than we can ever give back to you. I love you.