Belated Mother's Day

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I'm a little late on this, but that shouldn't surprise my mom.

After all, she was there when I broke my nose tossing a softball around. She watched as I chose my first boyfriend, a boy who appeared to shower and change his clothes only once a month. She listened to all the bad jokes I made -- and still make, if I'm being honest -- when I was beginning to develop my sense of humor.

Since my mom has seen me at my absolute worst, she shouldn't be too shocked that I'm writing my Mother's Day column two days late. She may be shocked, though, to know that I'm finally starting to see her as a fellow human.

We've all experienced this; when you're young, your mother appears superhuman. She cooks! She cleans! She works! She buys you things you won't use in two months! And somehow, she never seems to be fazed by any of it.

That was my mom, at least. As a child, I can't remember ever wanting something I didn't get. That wasn't because my mom was rich. She raised me alone with little financial assistance from my father, and it never seemed to bother her much.

Now that I'm an adult, I'm beginning to realize that it did bother her. It probably bothered her more than she'd ever be willing to admit, but she never dissuaded me from seeing my father in a positive light or wanting material things that I didn't need. She wanted me to feel secure and stable, and I did.

When I recall my teen years, I realize how poorly I treated her without understanding what I was doing. See, my mom divorced her husband my senior year of high school, leaving us in dire financial straits. I knew on some level that our financial status had changed, but that didn't stop me from thinking I could still have all the things I had become accustomed to.

One memory sticks out for me, a memory I am ashamed of. For my senior prom, I didn't want to fuss too much about it. I did my hair. I painted my nails. I scored a cocktail dress for $60 at Dillards.

But, despite all this, I really wanted a $150 pair of shoes to complete the outfit. I wanted those shoes so badly that I'd point them out every time my mom and I were window shopping. I detected slight frustration in her eyes when I'd do this but didn't think much of it, as she had always really loved shoes.

For reasons I couldn't understand at the time, she kept delaying buying those shoes for me. I finally convinced her to give in one afternoon, asking her repeatedly when I would have those shoes.

"Prom's getting closer," I told her, as if she didn't know that. She sighed, reached into her wallet and handed me her credit card.

"Just put it on this," she said. She sounded defeated, but I was so happy about getting my shoes that I didn't care.

When I started my job at Carroll County News, my mom told me that my starting salary was what she was making at the time. I realized at that moment how selfish I had been. She probably stressed about that purchase until she could pay it off completely; I mean, that's what I would do.

For that, and for countless other offenses, I have to apologize. Mom, you worked so hard to help me feel comfortable. You encouraged me to dream and to be myself. I should have treated you better then, but fortunately I've got many more years to make up for it.

I look forward to that.

Happy Mother's Day, however late it is. Thank you for everything.

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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News.