When I was in junior high, I got kicked out of my house approximately 26 times. And each time, as I would indignantly stuff my clothes into garbage bags and march out the front door, screeching that I hoped I never saw my parents ever again, I knew I was going to come crawling back two days later. Why? Because I knew I needed them, demon parents that they were.
Throughout my “dark years”, as my mother lovingly refers to them, I pulled out every trick in my angst-y teenage book to get them to give up on me… but they never did.
In turn, my mother pulled out every trick in her rookie “parenting a teenage nightmare” book, mastering the dance of fighting and pushing back, while still holding on for dear life. Even when I shoved her to her limits, she didn’t let go. How, I don’t exactly know, but what I do know, is that I am grateful (finally.. it only took 25-ish years).
Today, my mom turns 60. It’s difficult, and a lot of pressure, to come up with a gift for someone who has spent your entire life giving you everything. Two things I knew I wanted to give her though, were gratitude and recognition, because she went a long time in her mothering life, without either… so I should probably start putting in some overtime. Thank you, Mother, for everything you’ve done for me, and everything you have made me. Without you, I’d be infinitely more messy (a scary thought, I know), miles less confident and much more lost in life.
You have have guided me through so much, and I am so lucky to have you as my mom, and best friend. Here are just a casual few lessons you’ve taught me over the past 28 years:
1. Hard work trumps most things.
2. It takes the same amount of energy to put something back where you found it, as it does to leave it out of place to clean up later (still havent full grasped this concept lolzzzz)
3. Salsa is better with cilantro. Lots of cilantro.
4. You have different friends for different things. And that’s a beautiful thing.
5. It’s just worth the extra 2 dollars to buy grated cheese. Who TF wants to grate cheese?
6. 4 pm is Oprah/Dr. Phil/Ellen time.
7. Talking to your pets (cats, in her case) in a baby voice is completely normal behavior.
8. I should work in sales.
9. Little, thoughtful gifts mean the most.
10. You can be pushing 60 and still be down to get up and dance in the middle of a card game without feeling stupid (I felt a little awkward, but she clearly did not).
11. Girls trips are imperative.
12. On that note, girlfriends in general are imperative.
13. Travelling will provide you with more lessons then you know what to do with.
14. Mom really does normally know best (even if I still try and deny it sometimes).
15. Always help other people where and when you can.
16. How to paint (walls, not pictures. I dont think either of us are very artiscally inclined.)
17. You can love someone with your whole heart, but if they don’t recieve love in the way that you give it, challenges may ensue.
18. There is a huge different between listening to really listen, and listening just to wait to talk.
19. Carrots have a lot of sugar in them.
20. Boys will come and go, but girlfriends really are forever.
21. Exercise is important for the soul. There’s not much a good gym sesh (or run, in her case) won’t fix.
22. Always make your love a priority. It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine of life, but never let your relationship get lost in that routine.
23. The devil always needs an advocate.
24. There are so many different kinds of love.
25. Pick your damn battles.
26. Chicken wings and chips are not appropriate hostessing snacks.
27. Wine makes you hungover. Vodka sodas, less so. (This is v. dependent on the # of vodkas consumed but… you know what I mean.)
28. There is always time in a busy day for those things you deem important.
29. Text back. It takes 2 seconds (still haven’t grasped this one).
30. The nature vs. nurture debate is REAL.
31. Singing at the top of your lungs is always appropriate.
32. You can agree to disagree, and it doesn’t make you any less of a person.
33. Saying sorry is not that hard. #ProfessionalSorrySayer
34. Being able to speak 2 languages is cool. Wish I would have believed that sooner.
35. Rules should be flexible.
36. I should always look at myself first, when I’m having an issue, instead of immediately casting blame. No matter what the situation, take ownership in my part, whether I see it off the jump, or not.
37. Everything happens as it’s supposed to happen.
38. If you’re feeling a little large-and-in-charge, cut the sugary coffee creamer. Works every time.
39. You can be a daddy’s girl and still go to your mom every time. Mom’s just give your overly-emotional, desperately dramatic antics the respect they deserve.
40. Candles are lit. (Lollll)
41. Really think hard before you sign up for that jewelry-selling side hustle. They don’t seem to work out as planned.
42. Mother-and-daughter relationships can be sticky, and challenging, but there is no relationship that can compare.
43. Pick a few really bomb food items and get really good at making them (I have big plans to actually incorporate this into my life, but until then, here… have a bell pepper that’s been rolling around my purse for a week.)
44. Letting go of control is actually not that bad (and actually, she may have preached that, but I don’t know how well she practices it. I also don’t know how well I retained the lesson. But alas… the thought is there.)
45. You can (and should) make friends everywhere (Superstore and Home Depot especially.)
46. Never be afraid of making a fool out of yourself. No one cares that much.
47. Never, ever, be afraid of asking for what you want. You might not get it, but at least you won’t feel the regret of not knowing.
48. Don’t be cheap. Be aware of your money, but never be afraid to spend it on things that matter (for her, a grain bin or a trip to Africa. For me… not quite the same choices.)
49. DONT MAKE IMPULSIVE DECISIONS BASED ON EMOTIONS. DONT MAKE IMPULSIVE DECISIONS BASED ON EMOTIONS. DONT MAKE IMPULSIVE DECISIONS BASED ON EMOTIONS… Ya, still working on that one. #LifeMantras
50. More garlic.
51. When your 30, you feel 20 still. When youre 40, you feel like 24. When youre 50, you feel 30-ish. And when your 60… Well, we can fill in the blanks.
52. Always tell the person you love that you love them.
53. Youre never too old to try something new.
54. It’s going to feel completely normal when I’m mid-50’s fan-girl-ing/borderline stalking a singer I like (in her case, Keith Urban) with my similarly aged best friend. Totally normal.
55. Mix wet and dry dog/cat food. Then they don’t have wet poops but they also like it more. #WinWin
56. If Tim Horton’s has a coconut donut, get it. (Also applicable in other situations).
57. Remembering things like birthdays, or what kind of drink your girlfriend/boyfriend likes, is important.
58. Sleep on it. It always feels better in the morning.
59. Superstore is annoying, but really is the least-expensive place for groceries.
60. No matter what happens, no one will ever love you like your mom loves you.
I love you mom, and hope you have the best birthday. I can’t wait to celebrate with you! And just an FYI…. No, this is not your only present.