Dear Mama Sue

Happy Mother’s Day!

There are several things that I want to say to you, but when it all boils down to it, I can summarize it in just three simple words: I love you.  I truly do.  I am so incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful person as you as my Mother.  I have been taking a few trips down memory lane recently and I have realized that I, beyond doubt, have been so incredibly blessed throughout my entire life.

Particularly because I am blessed to be able to call you my Mother.

For some reason, and like many other women in the world today, you are a bit self-conscious of yourself.  As such, I don’t have many pictures of you.  In fact, this is probably the most recent one of just you and I together (well, with a chunky Bryce on my lap).

When you see yourself, it is obvious to me that you see something entirely different than what I see.  Your vision has been distorted somehow.  Let me further explain.

When I see your mouth, I see your brilliant smile.  I hear your infectious laughter and your helpful advice that you are always so eager to give me (despite my stubbornness and occasional failure to comply).  I am also reminded of your sporadic off-tune wacky songs, but I strive like mad to force those traumatizing thoughts away.  🙂  All throughout my life, you have touched me with your sense of humor.  You always seem to have a positive attitude about things, despite your many trials that you have had to endure.

You may not like what you see when you look at your eyes, but to me, they are striking.  They are eyes that have watched me from the moment that I exited the womb. Your eyes have made sure that my food was cut up small enough when I was young so that I wouldn’t choke on it.  Your eyes have an amazing knack for color coordinating and decorating (why I inherited neither of those useful traits is a mystery to me).  They have watched me participate in several sport competitions, piano recitals, and races.  Your eyes were very much aware of what was going on in my life while growing up.  You could see when I had a bad day or if something was bothering me.  And you always managed to compel the truth out of me, no matter how much I tried to conceal it.  I never regretted talking to you about my life because you always had a way (you still do) of making my problems melt away, or at least become more manageable.  You are just magical like that.

Your eyes have been there to witness my wedding day and the birth of my first two children.  They have watched me grow from an infant into an adult, and I hope that you know how much I value the beauty of them.

I have been thinking a lot lately about all of the lessons that you have taught me.  There are several.  It seems that whenever we get together you have no clue about the kinds of things that you have effectively taught me.  We talk about casseroles a lot for some reason.  A lot. 🙂  You know, you left your impression on my life in a zillion different ways.  And methods of putting together a delicious casserole hardly makes the list of the important lessons that I have learned from you.  Allow me to mention just a few such lessons.

You were very adamant about me not gossiping about other people.  Your lectures have stuck with me through the years and I find myself feeling guilty about even thinking about gossiping.  I know more than anyone that I’m not perfect…but I try really hard. 🙂

You taught me to never use the word “retarded” because it might make someone feel bad.  To this day, I very much dislike that word and I never use it.  Along with the word “shut-up”.  I am probably the only adult in the entire world who has never used that word in her life.  To me, it feels as dirty as the “F” word. 🙂

You taught me not to judge others because you never know what they are going through, or what they have been through.

You taught me that family was important.  This was very apparent in the ways that we celebrated every birthday and every other holiday throughout the year.  Holiday’s were family days and they were to be days for cherishing, making memories, and having fun.  I loved every single holiday when I was growing up and I want to thank you for making my life so pleasurable.  Thank you for decorating the house for each of my birthdays.  I loved waking up to balloons and crepe paper!  And I loved picking out my own candy to decorate my cake with.  Thank you for giving me the special valentine bags each February 14th.  I cherished those little notes that you wrote me.  I still have all of them.  And, believe it or not, I still read them on occasion. 🙂

Growing up, there was always something to look forward to.  Even after putting down the Christmas decorations, we had our traditional goal-setting family home evening to look forward to.  Every day activities were important as well.  You made sure that all of the kids supported each other in their sporting activities, etc.  I knew that family was, and is, important to you.

You taught me the importance of creating things.  I value all of the memories that I have of doing various crafts with you.  There was always something to create!  A holiday wouldn’t be the same without a homemade craft.  A school year wouldn’t be complete without making a gift to offer to my teacher in appreciation of her hard work.  A summer wouldn’t be a summer if you didn’t do a craft with Katherine, Tara and I each time she came to visit.  Thank you for making my childhood so much fun!

You taught me how to work hard.  You are a very hard worker and even somewhat of a perfectionist at times (if only I could have avoided inheriting that gene!). 🙂

You taught me that having a clean house is imperative.  I am, obviously, still working on it in my own home. 🙂  Your house was always one of the cleanest houses that I ever set foot inside.  It was always organized and spotless.  There was a place for everything.  And it always smelled so good.  Especially in the fall when you had a habit of burning cinnamon candles.  When I think of home, I can always smell the aroma of cinnamon and it always puts a smile on my face.

You taught me to clean my room.  You told me that I would be able to focus better and actually be happier if my room was clean and organized.  And it was true.  Although I may have put up a fight, I secretly loved it. 🙂

You taught me to enjoy learning and reading.

You taught me to be my true self at all times.  I remember your lectures when I was of dating age regarding the importance of being myself.  You were very adamant about me not being fake when I went on dates.  You told me that I should never act dumber than I was just to force a guy to like me.  And if I happened to be better at bowling than my date, than I should just go ahead and kick his trash! 🙂

You taught me the importance of serving others.

You taught me how to pray.  You probably don’t remember this, but I have vivid memories of you sitting in your pajamas on the stairs every morning saying a morning prayer with us before we left for school.  Even when I had to leave earlier than everyone else because of early morning practice, you would get up with me and say a prayer.  I really appreciated that.  I know that you pray for your children.  I’ll never forget the time when I tried out for the freshman basketball team.  You told me in the morning that you would pray for me the entire day.  I felt a lot of comfort knowing that you were praying for me that day.  I knew that you loved me. 🙂

You taught me how to laugh at the wrong time and in the wrong places.  I’ll just leave it at that. 🙂

You taught me that it is a must to change your underwear on a daily basis. 🙂

Through your example, you taught me not to complain.  I remember playing basketball with you one summer day in our driveway.  You broke your two middle fingers that day and ended up having to have permanent screws put into your bones.  You never complained about that surgery, or any other surgery that you have had to endure.  When I think about all of the health problems that you have, I feel like a big baby when I can barely suffer through a chest cold. 🙂

You were the first person to introduce me to the joys and wonders of chocolate.  Chocolate candy, chocolate chips, chocolate milk, chocolate-chip cookies, chocolate-peanut-butter ice cream, chocolate mousse pie, and chocolate-covered raisins are among the many decadent desserts that I have learned to cherish, thanks to you and your unfailing example. 🙂

You taught me the importance of being a well-rounded individual.  You provided me with a variety of opportunities for learning and for growth in an effort to accomplish this mission.  Thank you!  From the bottom of my heart.  Really.

You taught me that girls can have just as much fun as boys.

You taught me that going through puberty is a cause for celebration.  You made me feel so special when I got my first training bra.  And when I thought my life was surely over when I got my first period at the ripe young age of eleven you took me out to dinner.  How awesome is that?!

You taught me the importance of persistence.  Thank you for asking me if I was wearing my bra every single morning for the first year or so after I first started wearing one. 🙂  I hated wearing that thing and I probably wouldn’t have worn it had you not nagged me every day.  You saved me a lot of embarrassment, I’m sure! 🙂

Thank you for kindly assuring me that it isn’t normal to feel like puking after a date and that if such feelings occur, I should probably avoid that particular individual at all costs. 🙂  This advice may have seemed completely understandable to you, but I was apparently stuck in another world.  Thank you for being so quick to state the obvious when I am completely oblivious for one reason or another.

You taught me, even before I was a mother, the importance of thinking of yourself before you kids.  I now know that if I don’t take the time to care for myself than I won’t be any good to my children, or anyone else.

Because of you, Mom, I know that I wouldn’t be a suitable mother without wiping my child’s face daily with my own saliva that smells like nothing less than peanut butter toast.

I also wouldn’t be worthy to be referred to as a mother unless I firmly believed that keeping the carpet clean is far more important than the blood dripping off my my child’s head.  Once I am positively assured that my carpet is spotless, I can then proceed to take care of my wounded child.  First things first, right? 🙂

In short, you taught me how to be a mother.  I find myself doing the same things that I remember you doing.  It’s crazy.  I don’t even consciously think about it, but the actions just come very natural to me and I know that it’s because I learned from the best.

Not only are you an incredible mother to your 4 children, 1 daughter-in-law, and 2 son-in-laws…

But you are an AWESOME Grandma to your 7 grandchildren too!

(Please excuse Mason and Tyler in these pictures…they were still hanging out together in Heaven). 🙂

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama Sue!

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One thought on “Dear Mama Sue

  1. I love this post Andrea. You are so sweet, it’s funny because some of these stories sound the exact same coming from Craig! Like the peanut butter spit. 😉 You guys are so lucky to have a mother like her!! You are both such great moms too and inspire me to be a better mom. I hope you had a great Mother’s Day!

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