You’d be surprised by how much my friends and I talk about our parents - and lately, it seems that everyone is feeling especially emotional about how much they love their mommies.
Still, I know that, as a college student, I don’t always thank you enough for everything that you do for me. You answer my panicked phone calls during finals week, slip me money when you think nobody is looking and make sure I never leave home without a heaping plate of leftovers to put in my fridge. You remind me to take my Airborne, ask me if I’m getting enough sleep, and provide the requisite parental concern at my caffeine addiction. You support my totally unrealistic goal of actually making money as a liberal arts major, you only laughed a little bit when I told you I was playing intramural softball, and you even drove all the way up to Santa Barbara once just to replace my stolen bicycle with a brand-new beach cruiser you somehow finagled away from my little brother’s collection.
You read most of my columns, and pretend to read the film theory papers I so eagerly bring home at the end of every quarter. You may have turned my old room into a sixteen year-old male’s sanctuary for my brother, but you let me keep all my crap in his closet. You braved the bathrooms on campus to come visit me at the Daily Nexus office, and you share slices with me at Woodstock’s whenever you can. You may have showed up to meet the guy I was dating in a panda mask from the S.B. Zoo, but the fact that you got Dad and both my brothers to do the same was nothing short of impressive. And even though I came to college just a short hour and a half away from home, you’ve always been amazing when it comes to giving me my space.
Your birthday is this weekend too, and, although you don’t look a day over 25, you are always more than willing to share the wisdom you’ve accumulated over the years. From partying with the Allman Brothers in Georgia to working at the Wall Street Journal, from CNN to iFilm to some random credit on IMDb as “Anchorwoman” in The Cover Girl and the Cop, you have had quite a career. You covered riots and rockstars, wrote, produced, reported and raised children. And, you’ve consistently encouraged me to go above and beyond what you’ve already achieved - no easy feat, by the way.
You didn’t disown me during my tumultuous teenage years, no matter how mean I was to you. You didn’t balk when I needed you during the many “learning experiences” of my freshman year, and although you were always ready ad nauseum with a life lesson, you were also there to talk me through any trouble I could possibly get myself into. You helped me move into and out of the dorms, helped me find and settle into my first apartment and made sure I understood the nuances of cooking, cleaning, supporting and caring for myself. You even taught me how to make that mean brisket you’re so famous for.
In the past few years, you’ve taken care of a grand total of three ailing grandparents - your own mother and father and my father’s mother. In all three cases, you were compassionate, competent and capable, proving that you possess the kind of grace and strength that I can only hope to aspire to. And, you did it all without losing your sense of humor.
It seems like since I came to college, a lot of things have changed for you. You may not know whether you’re sweltering or shivering, laughing or crying, working or staying at home to raise kids and ride your boogie board on the beach. I may not be home nearly as much as you want me to be, and when I do visit, it always seems like I have to head back to Santa Barbara before I can even settle in. And, we both know that once I graduate into the great big world of 60-hour weeks and soul-sucking television production, things probably aren’t going to get much better in that department.
But, you’re still the mother who made a point of slipping Snickers bars into my lunchbox after a late night at your job. You’re still the mom who spent far too many hours combing the tangles out of my thick, curly hair - at least until the day you gave up and chopped it all off. You’re the one who taught me to be strong and self-sufficient, and read PJ the Spoiled Bunny to me when I took those lessons a little too literally. You’re the one who comforted me when class was too hard and encouraged me to just take the day off and go to the beach when it was too boring.
You’re the one who said I should pursue my passions, whether you were talking to the seven year old who wanted to be the next Broadway sensation or the seventeen year old aspiring filmmaker. You put up with my temper, my tantrums and the trillion and one times I must have made you watch The Little Mermaid. You’re the only one who remembers Brooklyn Bridge, the only one who understands why I sometimes cry at commercials, and the only person who knows why the mere mention of Beaches will send me straight into a sobbing fit. And that’s why, in honor of Mother’s Day, as I prepare to graduate from college and go out into the real world, it’s only fitting to express my gratitude for you.
I know I don’t thank you enough - it seems that whenever you call, I’m usually in class, on my way to work, or busy at the bar. I don’t spend nearly enough time at home, and I’m unreliable at best when it comes to listening to my messages. So, mom, on this mother’s day, I really only have one thing to say to you. And it may be cheesy, and you may need to prepare with a package of Kleenex, but here it is anyway.
I love you forever, I like you for always. As long as I’m living, my mommy you’ll be. Oh, and don’t worry, I know that no matter how many times I thank you in public, in print, online or over the phone, that doesn’t mean I can get away with not calling next weekend.