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For My Mom on Mother's Day: A Thank You, I'm Sorry and a Pulitzer

05/10/2013 03:59 pm ET | Updated Jul 10, 2013
  • Robin O'Bryant Author, Ketchup is a Vegetable & Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves
Joy Wright Photography http://www.joywrightphotogr

I waited patiently on the couch as I listened to my children scuttling around in the kitchen. "Wait, Momma! We're not ready yet!" My 3-year-old yelled.

It was my fifth Mother's Day and the most complicated production thus far. I heard eggs cracking and butter sizzling in the skillet and was only slightly consoled that my husband was the one doing the cooking, and not my preschoolers.

Aubrey, my 5-year-old, came running into living room. She tossed her well-worn baby blanket over my eyes so I wouldn't peek and grabbed my hand to guide me to the kitchen.

"Aubrey, don't run me into..." I stopped speaking as I walked directly into an armchair and sloshed hot coffee all over my pajamas. "HEY! Watch where we're going!" I playfully scolded Aubrey as she giggled. "Sorry Momma," she apologized as she held my hand and walked me directly into a bookcase.

Thankfully, we were close enough to the kitchen that I was able to remove my blindfold and see my Mother's Day surprise.

There was homemade French toast, a stack of homemade cards from my two oldest girls, an opened and half-eaten bag of coconut M&Ms, "Because they are your favorite Momma and you deserve the best," Aubrey told me. In addition, there was a small piece of pottery my husband had purchased for each child to give me. Even though I all but wrote what I wanted with a Sharpie on his forearm while he was sleeping, I was proud of him for coordinating a slightly complicated special occasion on his own.

Every year I am a mother. I am amazed at how much wisdom my own mother has, and how little I actually know. I am overwhelmed by the sacrifices she made, the energy she continues to have and the work she made look so effortless. My mother's wisdom has grown consistently as I have aged, but once I had children the growth was exponential.

There are a lot of things I'm sorry for, now that I'm a mother and I realize how hard you try day after day, to do what is right and what it best for you children.

I'm sorry my mother ever had to ask me more than once to help her. The work she did was tireless and thankless.

I'm sorry I ever said I hated her in a fit of teenage angst. I didn't know how overwhelming her love for me was and that she was only trying to protect me. I can't imagine how much it hurt to hear that, although if it makes her feel any better, I will have three teenage daughters in my house in about seven years, so I'm sure I'll get what's coming to me.

I'm sorry I lied to her every time she caught me doing something I wasn't supposed to. I didn't think she was stupid, I was hoping against hope to get lucky. I didn't want to disappoint her because she seemed so flawless to me.

As I was lying in the bed when Emma, my 3-year-old, came tip-toeing into my bedroom. My first reaction was to send her straight back to bed. "Momma, I'm ascared," she said.

I immediately remembered running silently through the darkened house with my heart pounding in my ears as I hurried to my mother's room after having a bad dream. My mother never sent me back to my room in the middle of the night; she would slide over in the bed, offering me refuge in the spot she had warmed in the bed and the smell of soap on sale.

I slid over as Emma climbed into the bed, wrapping her arms around my neck. I scratched her tiny little back as I thought of all the small things my mother had done for me that I had never even acknowledged.

There are so many things I have never thanked her for: giving me the last slice of pizza, the last glass of milk, eating the burned chocolate chip cookies so I could have the good ones, and somehow always showing up at my school when I was in the middle of a crisis.

I'm finally appreciative that my mother made me go to church every Sunday, wouldn't let me wear that dress out of the house, and refused to let me ever go to the tanning bed.

If my mother's IQ level continues to increase at the same rate my children are growing, she's going to be rivaling Einstein by the time we hit the teen years around here, and nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by the time they hit college.

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