Cheesy as it sounds, the first thing that came to my mind when I read this prompt was Bette Midler’s song, Wind Beneath My Wings. And my next thought was of my mom, because, well, that’s what she is to me, and that song always brings tears to my eyes because it makes me think of her. Doesn’t hurt that today just happens to be her birthday as well.
My mom is truly my best friend, *the* one I turn to in times of happiness, sadness, and every emotion in between, and she has always, always, always been there for me. She’s never disappointed me. Not once. Ever.
Is she a saint? Well, sometimes I think so, but as far as I know, she hasn’t performed any miracles. Well, other than managing to remain a kind, loving person after what one could only euphemistically call a rough childhood.
But that’s her story, and certainly not mine to tell here.
What I can tell is my story, or rather ours from my perspective. How I became best friends with my mom through weekend and once a week visits. How she sacrificed custody of my brother and me when she left my father because she knew that’s what was best for us. We had already been growing up in a house with my father’s family; she saw no need to pull us from the stability. Besides, she was working the 3-11 shift at a hospital a half hour away–not the easiest hours to maintain when you have a 2 and 8 year old.
Of course I didn’t know any of this until many, many years later. But oh, how I appreciate it now. I marvel at the strength it must have taken to do something so unselfish, and I only hope I’ve inherited and/or learned half of what she’s exhibited.
And so, during my formative years, we got the best of the mother-daughter relationship (shopping, intimate chats, watching stand-up comedy into the wee hours of the morning on HBO, trying all the new restaurants) without all the daily annoyances (curfews, how much time we hogged the bathroom, begging permission to do things). Who woulda thought I would’ve ended up with such an idyllic childhood after my parents divorced when I was so young?
Now a lot of the goodwill that sprung up between us came because my mom let me be my own person, within boundaries of course. Controlling and domineering, she’s not, but she’s not a complete pushover either (although even she would admit to being more of the latter when it comes to her kids).
One of the stories she loves to tell, and that I have come to admire, is that I was always allowed to pick out my clothes–from the choice of a few pre-selected outfits. That way, she reasoned, I had the feeling that I was in control and making my own choices but at the same time didn’t leave the house in horribly mismatched, embarrassing outfits. Genius!
And that’s why I love my mom. She guides without pushing. She listens without judging. She loves with all her heart without taking.
And sometimes I think she’s more than the wind beneath my wings–she just may be my wings themselves.
And thank you. For everything.