There was a plack above our kitchen sink growing up listing all the jobs a mother has. For example, it says a mother is a teacher, doctor, lawyer, chef, and
seamstress. That would describe my mom perfectly; She taught me the meaning of unconditional love and the value of hard work. She was there to wipe my tears when I fell off my bike or when I came home after a boy broke my heart. She was like a doctor helping me as I navigated the hard days of my disorder, always knowing exactly what I needed. She was always ready with a needle and thread to hem my jeans because they did not make them short enough for me, and of course, she was there to pass down The Vanderwilt family recipes that have now been passed down to my niece and nephew. she was all those things but also much more. As we mark the second Mother's Day since her sudden passing, I wanted to honor her and tell you more about the most important woman in my life.
When I reflect on my beloved mom, one thing that stands out and puts a smile on my face is thinking of her quick wit. If you were lucky to know my amazing mom, this is often the one thing that stands out the most. My mom could crack a great oneliner without showing an ounce of delight in her expression that we all know she had. She was one of the funniest people on the planet. She had gentle ease with everyone making everyone feel they could tell her anything, and often my friends would confide their relationship issues with her as she would never pass judgment on them, which is likely why she was often referred to as the cool mom by my friends growing up.
She would belt out the classics like the Monkeys and Oliva Newton John but knew every word to the latest Backstreet Boys Song. She was never afraid to be goofy and showed me how to be ok in my skin and that life was too short to worry about others' opinions. She had this way of making the bad days go away just by turning up the radio and dancing in the kitchen.
She also had this quiet strength that I admire so much. She had endured so much in her 64 years of life but never complained, and when the average person would say why me, she would battle on and often with a smile. She showed me the importance of leaning on your faith. This has gotten me through those hard days in the almost two years since her passing.
She was also a fantastic cook who knew what authentic comfort food was and would always seem to know when I needed it. She worked full-time but often had fresh Blueberry muffins ready for my brother and me when we woke up for school. She then would come home and make the most fantastic meal after working the whole day at Younkers. Some of my best memories growing up are the times we spent in that kitchen. My dad even built a stool for me so I could reach the kitchen counter to"help" my mom whenever she was baking. She also had the biggest heart; her family was everything, and she always prioritized her family. She would do anything for us and never thought about herself. She was the kindest soul that I miss every day.
My mom was my best friend, and though I write this tribute with some tears missing her on this particular day, I am also lucky that God blessed me with this robust role model who taught me the importance of faith, family, and fun. I am blessed that my relationship with my mother was so strong that I have these memories to comfort me. I know there is so much. I wish she could be here for me. To see me someday get married and start my own family to have been by my side as some of my lifelong dreams come true. To see the amazing young woman my niece has turned into and the amazing man my nephew is and to see him marry his soulmate next year. Yes, I could dwell on the unfairness of not having my mom by my side today and every day, but I will not do that. Instead, I will focus on what my mom was there for and the memories I will forever treasure.
If you are blessed to be able to celebrate with your mom, be sure to let them know just how much they mean to you. My brother and I ensured we did that, as every phone call and text conversation ended with I love you. To all the fantastic moms or those dads taking on both roles, have a wonderful day full of knowing just how amazing you are.