By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
This Sunday, a familiar scene will play out in homes and restaurants across the country. Children both old and young will present their moms with gifts, or flowers and a bevy of pastel colored greeting cards filled with sentiments of love and gratitude.
It’s all in honor of Mother’s Day, of course. But for me, the holiday can feel a bit orchestrated. How can one ever sufficiently express their gratitude, after all, for everything their mom has done? There simply aren’t enough greeting cards to do so.
Moms are a pretty special group of people. They are our first friends. They become the adult who “just doesn’t get it” when we’re teenagers. By the time we become adults, our moms have become our confidants and sage counselors.
I’ve known lots of good moms and a few great ones. I hope you’ll forgive my bias, but I think mine falls into that rarer latter category. Why? Because my mom hasn’t just been a mother to me and my siblings, she’s also been a surrogate mother to other family members, friends, even relative strangers.
Her entire life has been devoted to helping other people, in whatever way she can. For example, before any of us kids were born, she took in one of my cousins, raising her from infancy on for several years. To this day, my cousin jokes that she’s the real eldest daughter and still calls my mother “mom.”
She’s not the only one. We kids all had friends growing up who would call her that, too. If you came over to our house, you couldn’t leave before she’d made sure you had a full belly and a warm hug. That’s true today, too. In fact, people come over just to experience my mom’s cooking. I’ve written before how my parents’ house regularly becomes Grand Central Station during holidays and other family gatherings — mostly because mom can put out a fantastic spread. She definitely embraces the idea of “panza llena, corazon contento,” or “full stomach, happy heart.”
But there’s more to mom’s nurturing than that. She’s also an incredible advocate for those she loves. Recently, she has spent time caring for ill family members by sitting with them in the hospital or sewing special pillows to help relieve pressure on aching bones and joints.
She’s one of the most selfless people I know. She worries more for others than she does herself. And all the things I’ve mentioned here don’t even take into account what a devoted wife she is to my dad, who she’s been married to for 43 years this year. I often joke with them that theirs is a love story that should be turned into a movie.
Not everyone has the best relationship with their mother. Mom and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye and sometimes we still have disagreements. However, I think that’s what makes our relationship a great one. She’s the one who taught me to be an independent thinker in the first place.
And though there aren’t enough words to say thanks, this is my way of trying. Thanks, Mom, for everything.
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