My mother and I were talking on the phone this morning. At the same time, I was skimming through Newsgator, trying to decide which posts not to read, and I realized that I had never blogged about her. Delinquent Dad got a whole post, but Marvelous Mother was completely neglected.
Unlike many of my friends, my relationship with my mother was markedly un-rocky. I was a good kid essentially because the effort to be rebellious seemed like a waste of time to this bookworm. We had our first, and perhaps only, "argument" over the phone when I was a freshman at Houghton. When I got off the phone almost crying and described the conversation to my roommates, who had heard my end of the call, they informed me that I was an amateur in the violent art of mother-daughter fighting. Marvelous Mother and I have always been like two peas in a pod and I thank God for that.
When I started preparing for me imminent return to school, my mom asked if there was anything she could buy for me. Normal mom stuff, right? Sure it is, if your parents are living the middle to upper-middle class existence of most of my peers' parents, but I make substantially more money than MM does. Part of the gap is a result of the vast difference between living expenses in NOVA/DC and Northern New York, but even considering that, I probably make twice as much as my lovely, hardworking mother. Let's be clear, this is in no way a point of pride for me. It makes me sad enough to cry sometimes. My mother has worked hard for 35 years or so, but difficult circumstances, that were mostly out of her control, have made her options fewer than she deserves.
So, despite the obvious disparity in our salaries, she insisted on a list. Over the past few months, MM has been diligently searching for deals and coupons, buying the toiletries and food items I specified. Sometimes I feel guilty because I could afford to buy my own shampoo and oatmeal, but I've learned over the years that this is how my mother shows her love. She doesn't give extravagantly expensive gifts, but she gives what she can, sometimes more. She finds out what you need and does her best to provide.
She loves to feed people. If she doesn't have anything else to give, she still has her smile. She makes people feel welcome. This dear, wonderful, cute, lovely, marvelous woman, whom I have the privilege of calling my mother, loves giving gifts so much that, while I still lived at home, she would often produce some thing I wanted or needed and say, "This was supposed to be for your birthday/Christmas, but I just couldn't wait." Even before she called herself a Christian (5 years now), she would have walked the extra mile or given a stranger the shirt off her back.
There are so many other things that I love about my mother (She gives great hugs. She taught me how to sew. She always returns my call. She was willing to touch the raw chicken when I wouldn't. She washed the dishes I forgot to rinse.), but her capacity to give is the quality I admire most. She loves others more than she loves herself and I hope, one day, to be one-tenth of the woman she is.