Recently, my oldest son had the opportunity to participate in V.A.S.E. (Visual Arts Scholastic Event). It’s like UIL for visual artists. The best score is a 4. That is the score he got! Also, he earned the opportunity to get his letter jacket! As I’m trying to fill out the form, it took me back to when I earned my letter jacket in high school.
I’m a single mother. I was raised by a single mother. Now the difference here is that my father was and is present in my life, and he helped. He still does sometimes. I’m grateful for both of my parents. What I didn’t know though, until I was an adult was how many extra hours my mother worked to maintain our home. She was a teacher (she’s retired now), and she would work extra hours tutoring, being the ESL lead, and working summer school. She made sure I didn’t miss out on all those opportunities like school trips, dances, extracurricular activities, and my letter jacket.
I called my mom while I was at work, pouring over the form and the choices.
“Thank you Mama.”
“You’re welcome. What’s up?”
“I was looking at the form for E’s letter jacket and it just made me…did you pay for my letter jacket?”
“You know, I don’t remember. That was a long time ago.”
“Well, doing this just made me think…” At this point, I’m starting to tear up.
“Thank you for making sure I never missed out on anything. I never knew all the extra work, or I never paid attention, that you did to make sure I never missed out on anything.”
“Well, you’re welcome. Your dad helped, like with the trip to Colorado. He helped with that, but you’re welcome. We do what we gotta do.”
“That’s one of my biggest motivations raising the boys. I work hard so that they don’t miss out anything because you always did that for me.”
“Well, my having my degree gave me some opportunities that you’ll soon have when you complete your degree.”
“Alright, well just help them remember to work hard and do their best.”
“I will. Thank you Mama.”
“You’re welcome. I love y’all.”
There is no way I’ll ever be able to accurately pay my mother back for all the financial, emotional, and spiritual support and love she has shown me my entire life. As I get older, and I learn more about family and what it takes to be an adult, my mother shares more and more with me about her life and about our life when I was growing up. There are so many bits and pieces that I don’t recall. I think my mind has a good way of blocking out some memories. I’m grateful for the good memories that stick around though, like that band trip to Colorado in high school.
I’ve always loved my mother, but I appreciate her so much more now that I’m a mother. Mothers are a blessing.