A few weeks ago, my caregiver Amy left her position for a new adventure…motherhood! I did not have to worry about who was going to take care of me during her hours because of one person…my mom. When Amy left, my mom’s care giving hours greatly increased and over the past few weeks. I have watched her juggle my needs, my brother’s needs, her second job, my blog, her pets and helping others.
Anyone familiar with my mom, knows she is a behind the scenes, behind the camera kind of lady. Yesterday I asked her to snap a selfie of us for her Mother’s Day Gift. I am so happy she did, as I want everyone to see the person responsible for who I am. Without her help and support, I would not be able to do what I do.
I wanted to give my mom the world today. However, my budget does not allow that. I wanted to buy her a special gift to surprise her with. Unfortunately, when your mom is the only daytime caregiver, it is virtually impossible to surprise her.
So today I am giving her the gift of my words. I am giving her the gift of my love and appreciation. This is my tribute to a woman who has never left my side…my mom.
Cymba, my mom’s rescue dog. He passed away March 2019
My mom has modeled living a compassionate, giving way of life my entire life. Prior to my birth, she was a teacher at a residential treatment center. I remember when I was young, she opened up our home to a former student in need. She continues to stay in contact with him and one other former student. She opens her home to ANYONE in need. At one time, my mom was a foster parent to newborns who were waiting to be adopted.
My mom was also an EMT. She worked at a group home and stays in contact with many of the former residents. Additionally, my mom extends her care giving to others beside myself and my brother. She has collected clothing and camping supplies for the homeless in our community. She spends her own money to buy them food and clothing. Additionally, she helps and advocates for the residents in my building.
My mom extends her love and compassion to animals as well. Currently, she has two rescue dogs and a cat. She has also been a foster parent to other dogs. Her last several dogs have been senior rescues. She said it is because no one else wants them and everyone deserves to be wanted. I watched her mourn the loss of two dogs this past year. However, she is determined to continue to adopt senior dogs.
My cat Sully was once her cat. However, she had to work three jobs after her divorce and did not have time for him. I know it was so hard for her to give him up. Now she says it was meant to be, she loves the love we have. I am so grateful for her sacrifice as Sully is my constant companion.
These lessons of ultimate giving, compassion, and sacrifice for others have really hit home with me. I will carry them with me always and I thank her for that.
Photography is one of my mom’s hobbies.
My mom has set aside her own dreams and ambitions for me and my brother. After I was born early, my mom gave up her teaching career to meet my many needs. There were times she tried to work and have a career, but if it interfered with her family, she would sacrifice it.
When I moved into my own apartment, I had a great group of caregivers. My mom only had to cover a few hours a week. However, a time came when that was not the case. Again, my mom sacrificed a job she loved to care for me. This was one of the best decisions, as it was during this time, she suggested I start a blog.
My mom sacrifices career opportunities, hobbies, vacations and basically her whole life for my brother and me. Yesterday is a great example. My mom hates crowds, really hates crowds. However, she knows I love going to the Culture Festival every year. She gave up her Saturday and sanity to make sure I got to go. When I thank her, she always says “This is what moms do” I don’t know if that is true, but I know it is what my mom does!
I don’t think I will ever fully realize everything my mom sacrifices for me.
One of the many therapy sessions my mom attended
My mom has always been my biggest advocate and loudest cheerleader. I have had a great life overall. I continue to have a great life. However, I can think of several major life events where the love and support of my mom helped me over the hump.
When I was young, I had multiple surgeries. My mom was there the entire time. She would sleep in my room, never leaving me alone. Additionally, I required OT, PT, Speech and other therapies. My mom was there through it all, attending every session.
When I was 13 my Uncle Mike died. He lost his fight with depression and took his own life. This was one of the hardest times of my life. My Uncle Mike was like a dad to me, he was involved in every part of my life. My mom was grieving too. However, she was always there to listen to me and be there for me. Even today, almost 14 years later, we have long talks about Uncle Mike. She also reminds me to laugh as I remember the good times.
My parents divorced when I was 19. I initially stayed in the home I grew up in. My mom had moved out but continued to come over and take care of me. After a year I decided to move out. It was my mom who helped me find my apartment. She helped smooth over the bumps during the adjustment. My mom also advocated for me to get my current apartment, which I love. She knew I needed to grow and become more independent. I was so scared at during this time. My mom gave me enough room to grow, but I never felt alone.
Shortly after I moved into my apartment, I caved into the pressures of so much change. I went from an A-B student to failing many of my classes. I stressed over telling my mom. I never had trouble with my grades. She came to me and soon I found myself spilling my heart out to her. She not only comforted me but assured me there was nothing wrong with me. She made sure I knew I was not a failure. However, that does not mean she stopped pushing me to move forward and do great things.
Thank you Mom for all you do!
I have so much to thank my mom for. So here it goes…
Thank you, Mom, for dealing with all of our appointments, cares, homework, and our quirks.
Thank you for being there for all our meals, and for cooking delicious meals.
Thank you for coming to our graduations and bringing us to graduations.
Thank you for teaching us to explore our culture as well as the culture of others, and to feel comfortable in our own skin.
Thank you for not only allowing me to feel comfortable in my own skin, but for understanding that sometimes it can be a slow, agonizing process!
Thank you for the various holidays together, including my absolute favorite holidays to celebrate with you Christmas and New Year’s.
Thank you for teaching me the hard lesson that years of formal education doesn’t always equal happiness but reassuring me that you loved me and were proud of me regardless of what a piece of paper or computer says. That meant more to me then you will ever know.
Thank you for questioning everything, for advocating for us, and for constantly instilling those values in us. This will help me going forward not only as a writer, but also as a man.
Thank you for not only teaching me the importance of freedom but keeping an oath of respect and kindness toward your fellowman, and trying not to judge others.
Thank you for taking me to camp, for seeing the games I coached, for taking me to my dances, the concerts, the comedy shows, and everything in between.
Thank you for never giving up hope from the moment I was born, even when all hope seemed lost.
Thank you for not only being the first one to “Roll With Me” but for believing in me and fighting for me.
Finally, thank you for not only being an extraordinary mom, but an extraordinary friend.
Happy Mother’s Day! I love you!
Until Next Time, Keep Rollin’ and Keep Smilin’