I used to take my Mother for granted.
When my brother, my three sisters and I were babies in her womb, she never took so much as an aspirin for a headache. She never put anything in her body but the nutrients we needed to grow, and I took that for granted.
As a child, my world was rock solid because of her. She put our needs so far before her own that we didnít know that she had needs. She loved us without condition. I was so unaware of the fear and pain less fortunate children suffer that I didnít know such concepts existed. She worked hard to create that world, and I took that for granted.
As a teen, I gave her grief. I told her how wrong she was about religion, child rearing, everything. She was just a housewife, I said. What could she possibly know. I challenged her because she was strong, and I took her strength for granted.
She was extraordinarily moral. I still can't tell a lie, thanks to her, and I even blush when Iím innocent and people think I'm lying. The only thing she hated more than dishonesty was phoniness. She made sure we were, above all, genuine. I took her extraordinary honesty and genuineness for granted.
She prized graciousness and friendliness. She treated everyone the way she wanted to be treated. She was always full of compassion and understanding. I took her graciousness and friendliness for granted.
She enjoyed simple things. The smell of a flower could send her into fits. The silliness of a child could make her laugh for days. But I took her simple nature for granted.
As other parents nudged their children toward careers in accounting or engineering, she nurtured our creativity. While accountants and engineers are important, she believed, even more important are wit, imagination and beauty. I took her love of beauty and creativity for granted.
She sent me off into the world full of enthusiasm, hope and naÔvete. My early expectations were unrealistic, I soon found. I took risks and, early on, I failed time and again. That happened a long time ago. And though I have stumbled and fallen many times since, her spirit is strong within me. I often see beauty where others see nothing. I love walking in the rain. I love how simple things can make me laugh for hours. I am a writer because of her endless encouragement.
I've been blessed to have known her a long time. For all of my life she toiled, struggled, suffered and sacrificed on all of us kid's behalf. She's given everything she has without asking anything in return.
If you're as lucky as I, you have had such a person in your life ó someone who has loved you unconditionally no matter how foolish or thoughtless you may have been. Someone whose presence is so profound it propels you toward beauty and goodness.
My mother. I know now how blessed I am to have had her in my life. I can hardly wait to get to Heaven and hug her again.
I don't take her for granted anymore.