Me, my mom, and my daughter
Mother's Day is set aside to make sure we show some appreciation to the one person whom we likely don't show all that much appreciation to the rest of the year. My mom lives with me, so a lot of what she does around the house and with my kids has been incorporated into our everyday living is taken for granted. She babysits, she sets the coffee-maker at night, she helps get the kids to bed, she calls if I'm working late to see if she can bring in dinner (she's "forgotten" what a pan looks like), and although her social life is better than mine, she always puts my needs ahead of her own. But most important of all, she loves me (and my husband) unconditionally.

I'm not sure how you show appreciation for 36 years of this kind of unadulterated generosity. These are the types of things a mother should do, right? Well, I know enough mothers to know that not every family gets a mom like mine. Don't get me wrong, my mom is certainly not perfect — no one is perfect — but the good far outweighs the bad not-so-good.

I've always had a great relationship with my mom, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that I knew from a very early age that I could trust her. When I was just 6 years old, I heard my older brothers talking about blow jobs (they'd just seen the movie The Jerk) — and when they (unsuccessfully) tried to convince me they had actually said "blow dryer," I marched right into the kitchen where my mom was cleaning up, got her attention, and asked, "Mom, what's a blow job?" I still remember the look on her face as she tried to compose what would come out of her mouth next. After asking me where I'd heard that word, she shot my brothers a look that could kill and then told me ... the truth. I knew it was the truth because who the hell would make up such a disgusting thing (I was only 6, after all)? Other moms of kids I knew had lied to their children. I know because I ended up correcting a lot of them! I respected her back then — and respect her even more now that I'm a mom — for being honest with me, even though I was so young.

My house eventually became the gathering place for all of our friends. This helped my mom keep an eye on me ... she never wondered what kinds of kids I was hanging around with. In fact, mom became the unofficial therapist and confidant to a lot of the girls I socialized with. She managed to keep an amazing balance between mother/adult and friend. I can only hope to be able to provide that same balance for my children. I trusted my mom enough to tell her things that most of my friends didn't dream of telling their parents ... like where I actually went on Friday nights, and which drugs were being circulated in school. 

She gave me every reason to trust her and to respect her wishes. Sure ... out of her three kids, I was the only one she needed to give a curfew (which I only broke once) but she always knew I'd call her if I was in a bad situation or felt like I needed her help.

When my friends found out my parents moved in with us, I never got the "oh man, how do you deal with that?" but instead got "that's awesome, it'll be so nice to have them there!" And it really has been. I do appreciate everything my mom does for me and what she represents. And I'm not just saying that because I really want her to babysit this Saturday night. (Though mom, if you're free, that would be great!)

Mom, thanks for always being there for me, for making me feel safe, and for telling me that "sometimes girls are just mean" when I came home crying in the third grade because my best friend told me she was becoming too popular to be friends with me. I'll need your strength and guidance when my little girl comes home crying because of a mean girl. You'll need to hold me back from going down to the school and taking care of that little jerk myself!