Whether best friends or life-long role models, our moms are beautiful and vital parts of our lives. Here’s the story of three heroes, as told by our readers.
“When I think of my mom, I think of a small but ferocious woman with a bit of a Napoleon Complex, and I mean that in the HUGEST sense of the word (and yes, I know I’m comparing her to a powerful male figure, but I’m certain she’d even out-shadow him, complex and all).
She’s got my Grandaddy’s gumption paired with my Grandma’s mystic, yet undeclared, sixth sense. She grew up in this little pocket of Virginia Beach that still felt rural, despite not being that far from anywhere. So this made her equal parts country girl and surfer chick. In her teenage years she had perfectly, sun-kissed dirty blonde hair that flowed to her waist, bronze skin, and her own surfboard. She earned her nickname, Murph the Surf (Murph as in Murphy, her maiden name), by skipping school to hang ten, and chill with all the other surfers. I learned from her that it’s possible to have guys that are friends and that it’s all about boundaries. Surfing was a natural choice for someone who was honing in on self-dependency and instinct in the face of a challenge.
My young mind conjured up all kinds of coolness that surrounded her youth — I mean, she turned 16 in 1969. Was there a cooler time to come of age? I’ve always been convinced that I was born too late and should have decided to incarnate with her. I embraced all of the music of her time (The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa, The Doors…). I channeled her when I got dressed in the mornings. I grew my hair long in high school, smoked pot, and told stories of how my mom was super cool (implying that I had somehow inherited the throne). She told stories of how she knew all the promoters at the beach and always got backstage. (Of course she did, I thought — she was hippie royalty). She was the rebel out of her and two sisters. I’ve heard stories. Stories of how she’d sneak out with her parents’ car in the middle of the night. Of how she’d start bonfires inside my Grandma’s school bus. Of stealing eggs from the neighbors henhouse.
Her audaciousness has served her well in life. She raised me to be who she wasn’t. I was too intimidated by her to even consider sneaking out of the house, much less skipping school. I had a rebellious phase that lasted about 6 months and consisted of a lot of pot smoking, an adventure in LSD, and a few bad grades. It paled in comparison to hers, and it also didn’t last long because it was exhausting trying to escape her watchful eye. You really can’t bullshit a bullshitter, I’m living proof of that. But I do like to imagine that my free spirit was inherited from her.
In terms of relationships, she’s weathered a lot and I think she lost herself for a long while. She divorced my father when I was young, and when she was young, at only 27. That I understand, she could only swallow her need for control but for so long. She thought she needed someone to straighten her out, and he was just the chauvinist to do it. But unfortunately for him, she wasn’t built to take shit from anyone. So they divorced and stayed far away from each other, so far that I almost never saw him. Then she met Roger. He was just what she needed. Someone she could have fun with, but who let her take the wheel. She got lost in his world for a long time, and it was good for us. We had a strong support system of friends and family, between his friends and her sisters and my grandparents. Then we officially lost my beloved Granddaddy, the apple of her eye and the patriarch of our family, in 2011. But he left us well before that through Alzheimer’s. And this broke her. After his death, as she was trying to put all of her broken pieces back together, my stepdad was also diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. This was a punch in the gut, but she took it in total stride. NEVER once asking for help, working full-time and also taking care of him, losing herself once again in a new persona. After he died she was very lost, but hung close to whichever friends served her needs at the moment – survival instincts firing on all cylinders – serving her yet again as she navigated out of the half-pipe of life she’d found her way into.
And, in the twilight of her life, after swearing she’d never settle down with anyone else again, she found herself a guy who completely accepts all of her quirks — even the neurotic parts she tried to cover up for so long — but that can’t help to come out during grieving. Those parts you don’t even understand yourself because when you say them out loud, they don’t make sense… yep, those parts, too.
She found herself, finding herself, in the hands of another surfer from Virginia Beach. Full circle.”
“Right now my mom is enjoying some alone time at my parents’ Florida condo — simply taking a few days to soak up the gulf coast before my dad meets her down there for the remainder of their vacation.
My mom loves the warmth. We are naturally very cold-blooded individuals (well, my sister and I are) which we totally get from Mom. We are the kind of people who always wear fuzzy socks and woolly cardigans, with a cup of black coffee in hand. In fact, I bet if I could FaceTime my mom right now, that is exactly what you would see. A beautiful woman enjoying golden hour on her condo lanai, probably reading a book or replying to my never-ending Pinterest photos or totally random Facebook memes I tag her in.
But I should quickly mention — my mom is FAR from someone who schedules her own downtime like this. You see, my mom has always been a busy queen bee from the beginning. When my twin sister and I were born, my mom was going to school for her masters, which came to a bit of a halt when her TWO babies came into the world. Just like any mom would do with premature babies who entered the world 2 months early, she was right there with us every day in the niccu (45 days total in fact).
From day 1 my mom has been there for us. While I cannot go into our life story entirely, I have quite a few memories that have been molded into my mind for eternity — images, scents, quotes that all shape my view of her and how much she just LOVES her babes.
From the sliced grilled cheese sandwiches and Goldfish crackers she would have waiting for us on our favorite plates after elementary school, the years of homework she chipped away with us throughout grade school (and college….lol), the ridiculous issues we still come to her with about (guys, life, and the world [yes we expect answers]), the countless nights she would sing us to sleep — my mom is the epitome of Mom.
Our relationship is so special because of how much I genuinely appreciate my mother. By raising her little girls with the most love and care, she has helped shape us into the women we are today: hard-working, no bullshit, honest and respectable women. Because that is who my mom is.
She is gentle and kind, but expects the world from us — because she knows we can handle the world.
So while she may be sitting in her favorite spot down in Florida, she is sitting in the lives of her family, wherever we all may be. Because that is my mom — she spreads herself to cover the many relationships she fosters, no matter how much is asked of her. It just comes naturally, which is why I respect her so much. She’s a mom, a best friend, a wife, sister and daughter. She is many amazing things.”
“My mother has said time and time again that the thing which brings her the most happiness in life is being a mom. One of the many things I appreciate about her parenting style is that she does not suffocate my three brothers and I. She allows us space to grow and figure things out without having to hold our hand, yet we know she is always there if we need her.
Although my mother seems to be omniscient about which boys are jerks, which of my friends I should actually be hanging out with, how to stay true to myself, and who I really am, I still find ways to focus on all of the things that she lacks. I often find myself so angry with my mother. I ask myself why can’t she be more affectionate, more knowledgeable, more fearless? I get angry at the many things that she is not, and I too often take for granted all of the amazing things that she is.
It is not until I have grown older that I have realized my mother is still unfolding, figuring out her new niche in the world as my siblings and I grow up. I become a better woman as I learn to be a better daughter and friend to her. She teaches me how to be gentle and kind, even when it seems much easier to be bitter and hostile. I notice now that she is not affectionate, but never cold. She does not know everything, but her advice never fails to lead me where I need to go. She gets scared sometimes, but she always stays true to herself.
A beauty in her youth as well as in her adulthood, my mom continues to inspire me each day with her limitless patience, silliness, and goodwill.
Thank you, Mom, for putting up with my drama and being a role model to me and all those you come across. Much love, Lauren.”
Thank you to all who submitted a story for Mother’s Day. We love learning about our readers and the things that matter to them. For the three ladies who are highlighted in this post, check your email next week for a surprise!
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