So, I got my mom a really nice, sincere Mother's Day card, which I totally meant. My mom is pretty much awesome, and that's just the way it is. But I thought it might be nice to think through some of more specific things about my mom in addition to the generic Hallmark sentiments. Here are a few things that make me smile when I think of them.
1) When we went to South Dakota on vacation when I was pretty little, we saw some buttes. Mom said, "Hey, aren't those the butts I read about?" Obviously, she didn't realize how important some e's really are. At the time, I didn't know what a butte was, but I knew my mom said butt, and that was enough to make me laugh. Dad teased her about it, and it became a family joke.
2) When I was little, she used to tease me by squeezing my thighs. That sounds really weird. But it was a tickling thing, and it made me laugh. She would sometimes give me warning so I would try to squirm away, but other times she'd surprise me and get me. As I write, it sounds so bizarre, but it was hilarious to me at the time, and truly a fun mom thing. Not weird.
3) She also called me poopsock, boogerbutt, and missybutt. I swear she loved me! :)
4) I used to cry a lot at school, and one time she made a deal with me. She bought a Barbie doll and told me I could have it if I went two weeks without crying. I didn't make it, but I was too honest to lie about it. My teacher told me to tell my mom, but to explain that she (the teacher) thought it was 100% understandable and I shouldn't be punished for it (this was my fave teacher EVER). So I went home and confessed. Mom expressed that she was disappointed, but she didn't get mad at me. I got the Barbie, though I think I did have to wait a couple of days. I just remember that as an instance of her being a good disciplinarian, but one with compassion.
5) I remember as a teenager, something happened that mad mom feel bad, and she cried. She's normally fairly stoic for the most part, and especially as a kid I rarely saw her cry. I remember seeing her cry there in her chair, and having that first dim realization that my mom was a person beyond the four of us. It took longer to fully realize that (and I still sometimes forget), but that was a hard thing to realize as early-teenage kid. I ended up crying just because she was crying.
6) Similarly to that one, I was 15 when my Grandpa Huisman died. We knew for a while that it was going to happen, so when the phone rang late one night, we knew what it was. Dad answered it and then Mom came to my room to tell me. I remember I started to bawl because A) Grandpa died and B) I had been snotty and mean to Dad and now I felt bad because now I saw that my dad wouldn't live forever either. Mom just hugged me and told me not to feel bad about that. Dad would be around a long time. Then, in the kitchen, Dad was writing a note to my brother who was working till way late to tell him what had happened. Dad got upset while writing and threw the pen down on the table and started to cry. And Mom and I sat down the hall on my bed and cried together. As an adult, I think maybe she should have been with Dad instead of me, but at the time, I needed her and I guess she knew that.
7) More generally, it's just a funny realization to have your mom go from the lady who bosses you around and makes you do dishes and vacuuming to the lady you want to talk to and go shopping with and hang out with just because she's your friend. I remember the teenage moments of frustration and anger, but those are so faded and distant and now mostly all that's left is the idea that my mom is a fun person I can hang out with and laugh with. And vent to when I need it. And I need it a lot.
8) One more. I remember sitting next to her in church and being cuddled up with her arm around me. I got to play with her rings and necklaces and eat pink mint candies. That was about the safest place on earth. I still miss that sometimes. But I suppose it would look dumb for a 32-year-old to curl up next to her smaller mom and play with her jewelry. Darn.