I have been meaning to write a tribute post to my mother. Thus, it is fitting that I procrastinated enough for it to be published during the month of Mother’s Day. Like so many children of all ages, I do not tell my mother enough how much I appreciate her. She has provided me with unconditional love and unwavering support my entire life. But never was this truer than when I became a mother myself.
I could write a dissertation on all the things my mother has done for me in the past 17 months to scaffold my own motherhood journey and smooth the bumps along the way. Instead, I give you the highlights of this year and change with a woman I like to call “Grandrea.” “Grandrea” = a convenient portmanteau for “Grandma Andrea.” Despite best efforts, it has not caught on with my son, who alternately calls her “Amma,” “And,” but mostly “Mama.” This is because my mom is around so much that he thinks she is also his mom. And that is more than fine with me.
Grandrea walked up our steep, hilly driveway after a car service refused to drive her up in the middle of one of this year’s worst nor’easters. My husband was on a business trip and she did not want us to be alone in the storm. Please note that I urged her not to come, but Grandrea is her own force of nature.
Grandrea always sleeps over when I’m in my house alone with my son due to my husband’s work travel. She wakes up early with us, helps prepare breakfast, and enthusiastically gets down on the playmats for early morning play (after her coffee of course).
Feats of Strength
Grandrea’s age will not be revealed, but she is the young mother of an older mother. And she has newfound physical strength to tote around my 27lb toddler as she moves past retirement age and has to navigate the many stairs in my house.
Grandrea sings all day long. My son requests it and she grants the request. She sings while he gets his diaper changed. As she carries him up the aforementioned stairs. While he gets his teeth brushed. She sings before bed. I never realized that the singing that used to embarrass me in the car in front of my friends when it was her turn to drive the carpool would become the sweetest music to my ears. I am just thankful that I realized it now and am able to tell her.
Grandrea tries hard to always do things exactly as I want them to be done, even though it might feel counterintuitive to how she did them 40 years ago. After all, I turned out fine. And I know this because she tells me.
Mommy and Me
Grandrea lets me unapologetically be myself, even if myself is sometimes stressed or sad or frustrated and not sure how to deal with it. She is constantly telling me, and anyone else who will listen, what a wonderful mother I am. But what I hope she understands is that, to quote a famous commercial from the 80s, the era in which I grew up with my amazing mom who would do anything to make me happy: “I learned it by watching you.”