My brother, my mom, and I are seen here on our trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio.
I remember building my blocks as a little kid, and when they fell, I groaned and was ready to storm away from the scattered pile. But my mom would calmly say, "Now relax, you can rebuild it." And after taking a breath, I did. I carried those simple words with me throughout life, and they taught me patience and determination in everything I do.
She taught me the Golden Rule, and the meaning from right and wrong. I recall a time that I stole a kaleidoscope from a kid in kindergarten after he passed it around during show and tell. I pocketed it, and then the teacher started the lesson. I showed my mom the toy, and she asked where I got it from. She said that I needed to give it back to the boy and apologize right away. I never stole again, and her simple Christian teaching followed with me throughout life as well.
I remember her taking me to Sunday school for the first time. I was kicking and screaming. I didn't want to go, and when I entered the classroom, I recall having some sort of panic attack before the teacher calmed me down and found me a seat. Years later, I taught Sunday school, joined the youth board, and invited my mom to church services.
She attended every sporting event, play, band concert, school choir performance, and science fair. She was always there, always involved. I may not have always appreciated it back then, but looking back now, I realize how much time it took for her to be there every time. It means the world that she was there, supporting me.
I remember that she helped me get through the hardest of times, whether it be in relationships, school, or illnesses and medical issues. She stood by me, supported me, and gave me advice. She fought for me, always made me feel better, and pointed me in the right direction.
She made time to do things with me. We went on walks, sang karaoke, and took trips. I owe my love of travelling to my mom. It was her idea to go to places like Naper Settlement, Cantigny, the Rockford Peaches Museum, Lincoln's historic site in New Salem, the Amish Country. They were usually places that taught us something, furthering my love for history.
I remember her teaching me the importance of family. She made it a point to keep us close not only to our family, but to my cousins, uncles and aunts. We've always had a strong family, and I thank my mom for keeping that together.
She is a terrific grandmother. She is there for my son just like she was there for me. She loves him just like she loves me, and seeing her love a one-year-old like that makes me see the kind of love she would have given me at that age. I love my mom even more now that I see the love she has for him.
Thank you mom for everything that you did for me and for my brother. Thank you for all your teaching, for playing jokes on dad, for keeping the family strong and together, and for all your love. Happy Mother's Day to you and to all the mothers out there. Every day is Mother's Day because every day we appreciate you!