10 years. Say it out loud people, 10 years.
It has been 10 long year, a third of my time on this Earth, that I have been without my mother. 10 years since I gave her a beautiful vase & card and told her "Happy Mothers Day" knowing it would be the last time I would say it to her. 10 years since I layed on the bed next to her knowing I would never again feel that safe and loved. I miss my mom with all of my heart every single day. There is not a momentous occasion or mundane moment that I don't think about her and wish she was here.
My mom made me smile, and laugh and was my very best friend in the world. I had a relationship with her that my friends were envious of; and now...I envy them.
Since she died I have always been angry when Mothers Day rolled around. I cried and got pissed off at the jewelry store commercials and couldnt even fathom going into a Hallmark.
It took me until last night to realize this; but in the 10 years that I have passed, I have gained mothers in my life:
I got married and gained an amazing mother in law in Deb Nightengale. My sister in law Candace Hansen is a great mom to her 3 kiddos. Grandma Elaine is always there if you need her and adores her grandkids.
And Grandma Nightengale...what can I say? There is not a more kind or loving soul on the planet. She has made me feel welcome and given me a sense of family I never thought possible.
My Aunts In Law are amazing as well and can make me laugh and love and I am so lucky to have them. Carol Crawford, Roxie Nightengale, Sharon Nightengale & Bonnie Rasmussen, you are the best!
And Adrian Thomas, you are like another sister to me and a mother I can truly relate to, I love you!
Shortly after my mom passed, a beautiful light came into our lives and Jackson Sparks was born. My cousin Amy Sparks is one of the most devoted mothers I have ever known and has been a shoulder for me to cry on and a friend to comisserate with. Her mother, my Aunt Martha Kimball has stepped into my life through these last 10 years and I NEVER want to let her go. She supports, loves and understands me in a way only a mother could but is still a friend and confidant. Bitsy Walker, you are one of the funniest people I know and your take on kids and parenthood is a breath of fresh air. And Rose Walker, you are so sweet and I am so fortunate to have you in my corner.
So while I no longer have my own mother to lean on and love...I have gained all of these women with the title of "Mother" in my life and I am the luckiest girl to have them.
But this year more than any other, I have realized what Mothers Day is truly about. We moms get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. In school programs, making dinner, giving baths and running errands that it is easy to stop and remember what we love so much about being a mom.
Elliott Jay and Zoe Monroe are without a doubt the light of my life. Their smiles warm my heart on the saddest of days and their hugs make all the wrongs in the world disappear. I finally understand that Mothers Day is taking the time to realize how lucky we are to be moms. Not to get flowers or cards or be told how much we are loved. But to know that you brought these amazing people into the world and they will love you for the rest of your life and beyond.
As I carry the torch of love for my mother, so too will Elliott & Zoe carry that torch for me. I could't be happier than to know that they love me despite my short comings, temper and craziness.
And THAT is what Mothers Day is to me.