I don’t remember when I first thought she was amazing.
Maybe it was when she dressed up as a clown in the town parade and did handsprings down the street.
Perhaps it was when she ran a studio out of our house as she taught tap, ballet, gymnastics and baton.
Was it when I scavenged through Grandma’s attic and found the picture of her as a drum majorette and learned she was an acrobatic baton twirler?
Or possibly when she took up painting, and I observed her creativity.
When did I marvel at her bravery?
Was it the time that a large dog attacked me and she put her 90 lb. body between the dog and I, literally risking her life for mine?
It may very well have been when she dove into the water to save me when I slid off of the dam.
It could have been when I learned that her beloved father died when she was a young mother hundreds of miles from home.
I took notice that once again, she stood strong in the months she had to watch her mother die of cancer, all the while consoling me as I struggled with my own grief.
I never missed her willingness to pack up and follow my Dad with each new job to different towns and people, overlooking her own apprehensions in order to help us kids feel like we were on a grand new adventure.
When did I notice her sacrifices?
What about the hours she would spend sewing me a new outfit? The many times I was sick and she would make me soup and rub Vick’s on my congested chest?
Was it when she taught me to drive a stick shift in city traffic?
Was it her willingness to let us bring home countless pets, even lizards and snakes?
When did I first find out she was wise?
Was it when I was a pre-schooler and rubbed house paint in my hair and she knew how to get it out?
Could it have been the time that the neighbor mentioned someone was taking his Avon bottles out of his garage and she had the sneaking suspicion (plus the aroma of perfume emanating from a pot in our secret hideout!) that it was my friend and I?
Was it when I had my first boyfriend who asked me to go steady and instead of her scolding me for being too young, she asked me if I wanted to leave my carefree childhood years so early, reminding me that once you leave it behind, you can never return.
When did I decide that she was rare among women?
Was it when she encouraged me in my faith without trying to control it?
Was it when she didn’t try to manipulate me with guilt to get me to meet her needs?
Maybe it was the way she could demand respect from her kids without screaming and hysterics. She said what she meant and meant what she said.
Was it that she trusted me and expected me to make good decisions and that made me want to prove her right?
When did I learn that we shared the same sense of humor?
Was it when I tried on cowboy boots and put them on the wrong feet?
Could it have been when the filling station attendant came to our car and disappeared after slipping on ice?
It was probably the time I wanted a crate in Target and she practically pulled down an entire shelf, trying to get to it.
No doubt it was when a bird flew over Dad’s head and strategically left his mark!
When did I learn that I had been blessed with an exceptional mother and there would never be another one like her?
From the day I took my first breath, if not before and every day thereafter.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom. You are the best!