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Discuss: For Mother’s Day

Recently, my Brother and I were talking on the phone when he made a smart ass remark about how I’m not a “real” Montanan anymore.  He meant it to be funny, but the questioning of my home-state roots happens to be my Achille’s Heel, so his attempt at humor came out rude.  (The snark, it’s genetic.)  While reprimanding him for piercing my soft underbelly with the business end of a rusty ice pick, I uttered the phrase, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”

This brought the conversation to a dead stop.

“Oh my God,” I said, “I’m turning into our Mother.”

“Ha! You should be so lucky!” was his reply.

And he was right.

The truth is that everyone, from our Golden Retrievers to my best friends, likes my Mother best.  And my Brother and I are completely fine with that.  We simply can’t compete with the kindest, warmest, most caring, most genuine woman living in the American West, if not the entire North American continent.

Finding the words to tell you how completely awesome my Mom, without turning this post into a catalog of Hallmark cliches, is somewhat difficult.

How do I explain how her work as a debate coach has changed the lives of hundreds of teenagers, simply because she believed in their potential and encouraged them to pursue their dreams? How do I describe the looks of glee on their faces when they run into her in the Starbucks?  Or how she beams and giggles when they pull her into these giant bear hugs and tell her how much she means to them?

She’s invited to their graduation parties, their weddings and their baby showers.  Their parents talk about her with what can only be described as reverence.  And simply because I am her daughter, these teenagers and twenty-somethings friend me on Facebook and contact me regularly to ask questions about college, resumes and politics or just to wish me a happy birthday or send me a congratulatory note.  There simply aren’t enough nice words to express how much they respect and love her, and how she loves them right back.

I may only have one biological sibling, but all across this country, there are young people who consider my Mom their second-mother.  She’s helped raise multiple doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and architects.  Oh, and I forgot to mention the astronaut.

How the hell do my Brother and I compete when one of my Mother’s surrogate children is going to be a damn astronaut?

My Mom puts my friends and my Brother’s friends on her Christmas card list under “family.”  She remembers her hairdresser’s birthday, and asks the pharmacist how his son is liking college, and whether the produce manager’s daughter made the softball team.  In fact, she could run into any one of my ex-boyfriends on the street today, and there isn’t a single one who wouldn’t be thrilled to see her.  And her kindness is not limited to just the people she knows.

My Mom is the type of lady who asks complete strangers, “How are you?” and is genuinely interested in the answer.  This often leads to long conversations in the Wal-Mart check-out line or the airport waiting room.  None of which she minds in the slightest.

In fact, just last week, I was telling her about a bad taxi ride that I’d had that day when she reminded me about one of the cab drivers we had on her first trip to D.C..  The man’s name was Mohammed, he was originally from Egypt and he had a three-year-old grandson named Youssef who was just learning to play soccer and wanted to be a fireman when he grew up.  All of this information was gleaned on a ride from Dupont to Georgetown eight years ago, and yet, she remembers it like it was yesterday.

I sometimes wonder how I could be genetically related to a woman that good and generous and kind.  But every now and then, I catch a glimpse of her in myself, and it makes me think that there’s hope for me yet.  Most people spend their lives trying to be better parents than the ones they had, but I’ll be lucky if I’m half the mother, or half the person, that my Mom is.

My Brother and I have often discussed how jealous we are of our future children because they get to have our Mom as their grandmother.  It’ll be like hitting the lottery, and then finding out that your winnings are tax-free.  She’ll spoil them completely rotten and convince them that they can do crazy things like become an astronaut…because that’s just who she is.

So here’s to you Mom–bringer of joy, supporter of dreams, giver of hugs, cheerleader in chief, and the all-around best person that I will ever know–Happy Mother’s Day.



  1. ad says:

    Thanks for freaking making me tear up at work Belle. You and your brother – and all of your surrogate siblings are clearly very blessed. 🙂

    May 10, 2013/Reply
  2. MidwestChic says:

    TEARS! I love hearing about your family, Belle. And your mother sounds like a wonderful blessing. You and I are both so lucky to have been blessed with such amazing mothers!

    May 10, 2013/Reply
  3. Linda L says:

    Wow – what a wonderful tribute to an awesome woman. I wish I could meet your Mom – what an inspiration!

    May 10, 2013/Reply
  4. Lynn says:

    So lovely. Hope to earn the same from my daughters one day.

    May 10, 2013/Reply
  5. An says:

    I’m not a cryer, but damn if I’m not fighting back tears in my cubicle right now. Your mom sounds awesome. Way to find the right words to tell her that.

    May 10, 2013/Reply
  6. Alex says:

    This is beautiful and incredibly touching–thank you so much for sharing. Happy Mother’s Day to your mother!!

    May 10, 2013/Reply
  7. GoGoGo says:


    May 10, 2013/Reply
  8. JChica says:

    I am not pre-menstrual: My tears are legitimate

    May 10, 2013/Reply
  9. Melissa says:

    this is so sweet. =)

    May 10, 2013/Reply
  10. C. Michael says:

    She sounds like a remarkable woman. In a society where ill-mannered reality-tv “real housewives” are praised, it’s people like your mother who are truly deserving of our respect. You’ve written about her beautifully!

    You do a lot for others too, so it’s clear to see where you get it from.

    May 12, 2013/Reply
  11. Spirimom says:

    I found myself praying that my children will say 1/10 of those nice things about me one day! Your mom sounds like a strong, tender, classy lady. Exactly how we are supposed to be.

    May 15, 2013/Reply
  12. Kaffine Kati says:

    I agree with this entire discussion. She is one of the most remarkable woman I know. If we could all be like her the world would be a much better place. Love everyone moment with her and I can’t wait to see her be a grandparent!! She gives like no other person I know. I love being a part of this family and having your mother as my sister (even if it’s only in-law). She is a true friend and I can trust her with my deepest, darkest secrets, which I am thankful for every day!

    May 21, 2013/Reply