She is a woman who put herself through college on out-of-state tuition. She is a woman who married the man of her dreams. She wore the ideal white gown that made her strawberry-blonde hair appear darker and her light blue eyes softer. She had a small elegant ceremony and the reception was in the backyard of the house she and her husband just purchased. Seven months later, she learned she was pregnant with her first child.
She spent the next nine months devoted to preparing for the child. Standing at 5’4”, she became the cute pregnant woman because being so short and having such a large belly attracted everyone’s attention. When she learned the baby was a boy, her dreams were crushed. She really wanted a daughter. A boy, well, she would learn to deal with it.
December 19th came around and, to her surprise and that of all the doctors that were on call that day, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Ashley. You can even blame Ashley for the way her hair changed from a beautiful strawberry blonde to a common blonde shade. When Ashley came into the world, the woman’s life was dedicated to every need Ashley had.
Three years later, and pregnant, the woman learned she did not want to know the sex. Again, she had the cute pregnant woman appearance due to her shortness and large, round belly. To her surprise, on October 10, she gave birth to another baby girl.
The minute her second child was born, she devoted every minute to her daughters. Her needs didn’t seem important anymore. Her wardrobe shifted from dress pants, blouses, and lovely shoes to something that would allow spills and spit ups, but maintain some of its color when it was washed a million times. She spent her time cooking, cleaning, changing diapers, and feeding her girls. She never had a moment for herself, yet she was content with her life.
As her girls grew up, she enrolled them in dance and gymnastics classes. She never expected one to stick with it for 12 years. When one outgrew gymnastics due to crotching the balance beam, Ashley became solely a dancer. The woman’s life became one big jigsaw puzzle: figuring out how to drive at least one girl to practice and balancing the checkbook so both girls could have all the work-out outfits and costumes they needed. Don’t forget the countless recitals and competitions she had to attend.
As the younger daughter became more advanced in gymnastics, traveling to competitions became a requirement. The woman traveled to Illinois, California, Nevada, and Hawaii, to name a few. She always told her daughters, “As long as you love what you do, cost doesn’t matter.”
By the time Ashley hit high school the woman’s relationship with her daughters shifted. She started to become a friend. She was soon teaching Ashley how to drive and she was meeting her boyfriends. It hit her that her girls were growing up. Before she knew it, both girls were in high school and planning for college.
Her youngest daughter quit gymnastics and picked up cheerleading. Somehow this seemed more dangerous than gymnastics, but she was proud of her daughter regardless. Ashley, a senior, was getting ready to move away from home, the first difficult motherly task. Ashley was accepted to George Washington University in Washington D.C., and packing quickly overwhelmed the woman. Soon August came, and Ashley was in college.
A year later, the woman got a call from the high school saying she needed to come get her daughter. There had been an accident. The woman happened to be in the tub when the call came, so she finished up, applied her makeup, and then headed to the school, which was a mile down the street. To her dismay she learned her daughter was dropped from a cheer stunt and needed to go to the hospital. The woman watched her daughter curse at the nurse and cry in agony. This was something she had never seen from her daughter. She was the tough one and never cried when she got hurt.
This was not her last trip to the hospital. She returned again in October so her daughter could have surgery on her leg because it didn’t heal properly. She held her daughter’s hand as Dr. Skank (his real name was Shank, but Skank is more fun to say!) whisked her into the operating room. The last thing she said to her was, “When you wake up, ask for the drugs.” Needless to say this was not what her daughter asked for; she said, “I’m hungry. Give me food.”
Two years later, the youngest daughter was off to college. Again, the woman helped pack her up and took her to school. That next spring, the woman received a similar tragic call from Ashley while away at college. It was her last year and she had somehow managed to stay clear of hospitals. (Any time something happened to Ashley, the cut got infected and she went to the hospital. It was always a severe, expensive situation.)
Ashley was in serious pain. She had to go to the hospital. She had appendicitis, and her appendix needed to be removed. The woman immediately jumped into her travel attire, which consisted of a black velour jacket and matching pants, caught a redeye flight to Washington D.C., and was there by 8 A.M. when Ashley woke up from her drugged state. The woman stayed for over a week helping her daughter to and from school, carrying her backpack for her, helping her to the bathroom – everything a sick child wants from their mommy.
The woman now had her life back. Her motherly obligations were done. She had raised two amazing daughters who were accepted into college and had career plans. She could go back to being a married woman whose husband, now retired, constantly wanting to spend time with her. His idea of fun — sitting outside in the blazing 110-degree heat — was not her cup of tea, but she did it anyway.
He tagged along on all of her errands, even when it included going shopping. He harassed her with, “Why do you need that?” or “You don’t really need that, do you?” or “We’re on a budget.” Her response was always “Yes, I always need it.” What she “needed” was always another pair of black dress pants or another jacket to go with the black pants that would sit in the closet with the price tag still attached waiting for years to be worn. I think she is confused between need and want.
Anyway, now, her oldest daughter, Ashley, has graduated college with a double major and a Masters Degree. Her youngest daughter is about to graduate from the University of Oklahoma, one year early, and is about to celebrate her 21st birthday. She said to her daughter on the phone, “You’re my baby; you’re not supposed to turn 21.”
She is the best woman I have ever known. She gave up her life and devoted it to her kids. She gave them everything they could ever want or need. Who is this woman? She’s my mom.