After driving 14 hours by myself I finally arrived to Mt. Rainier in Washington. For my senior trip I planned to climb the peak with eleven strangers I met just months prior. I was alone in a parking lot of a closed visitors center. I had been waiting years to tackle a mountain of this caliber.

As I stood there basking in my outdoor independence, without warning a wave of anxiety hit me. I was headed on a strenuous feat that could kill me. I got sick and weezy. I felt scared and alone. It hit me so fast I couldn’t stand it. There was no medicine or prayer to pull me out of this funk. I reached for my Nokia cell phone (the size of a stapler) and without hesitation I called my mom.

There were many phone calls to my mom before that one. And many after. My mom passed away February, 18th 2015 and before she died I was calling her on average 3 times a week. The hard thing about your mom dying is you only get one mom. And when she is gone, you feel hallow.

mom

Growing Up

My mom did holidays right. When you walked in the door during Christmas a wave of baking, cinnamon, and holiday cheer greeted you. She covered every detail, every decoration, and every tune. She wore her superhero cape as an apron and could turn any birthday, Easter, or Sunday dinner into a noteworthy event.

She didn’t have Pinterest, she had cookbooks. She didn’t have a blog, she had immaculate cursive handwriting.

When I made mistakes she helped me seek resolution. I remember pranking our neighbors one year by cutting their pumpkin leaf bags with a kitchen knife thus having all the leaves pour out. She promptly marched me next door and had me apologize and handed them a couple dollars out of my bank to pay for new bags.

I hated going to school. I didn’t see why I should go when I could just stay with my mom. She bribed me with Lucky Charms so that I would get out of the van and stay the whole day. She told me that it’s hard to do new things but that it’s important to do them. I value that lesson everyday.

Doing The Best With What You Have

All parents are dealt a hand in life. They play their cards and do their best to play them right. They coach us, ground us, love us, and discipline us. While we receive their counsel little do we know they are doing this for the first time. We don’t see them after they close the door to their room looking up to the ceiling asking what they should do with a hard situation.

I’m the youngest of six kids so when I turned 12 it was the first time my mom had ever had six kids the youngest being 12. All parents are first timers at being parents. And despite my mom having experience with raising five children before me; I was her first Adam.

And when I say ‘do the best with what you have’ I don’t mean money and things. I mean the knowledge that you have. My mom had knowledge, right wrong or indifferent she had knowledge. And she did her best to teach me what she thought was valuable.

She taught me:

  • Finish what you start
  • Treat people with kindness
  • Give what you can; time and talents
  • Perseverance
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Olive Garden has the best salad on Earth
  • Hostess Snowballs are the answer
  • and much more

My mom told me one time that her and my dad would often pay for peoples dinner when they ate at restaurants. She said they’d look around and find a young family who probably didn’t get to eat out much. They’d wave the waitress over and coordinate to pay for their dinner. I was inspired by this so I tried it once. I spotted a young couple with a baby. I could tell the young mother was tired and stressed. It felt good to pay for their dinner, I understand what my mom was talking about. I’m thankful for this because it gives me a way to stay connected to her.

Building A Relationship Of Trust

When you have a relationship of trust with someone it is of great worth. When I was very young I trusted my mom. I felt like she was looking out for me. She even let me tell her about my crush for Helen Hunt when I was young. Last week I got to meet Helen Hunt on a google hangout. I firmly believe my mom coordinated this unique experience and was her way of saying, “Don’t get too excited, you’re married Adam. ;)”

helen
I swear my mom coordinated this meeting with my all time favorite celebrity.

As a teen I started chasing girls and going out on Friday nights. One night in particular sticks out to me when I came home after watching a rated-R movie. I couldn’t hide the remorse and she asked me what was wrong, it didn’t take but a couple minutes for me to spill my guts out and tell her I was sorry. From then on I told her about all the girls I kissed, houses I toilet papered, and dumb decisions I made.

She would laugh and then counsel. And then laugh some more. She’d help me understand the importance of good decision making but not without friendly banter. She was a mom first, and a friend second. For that I trusted her.

Welcome To The Club

This club is the worst club. It’s the ‘your mom has passed away’ club. It’s been three months since my moms passing and I still reach for my phone to call my her. Friends and family have offered for me to call them as a substitute since many people knew I was close with my mom. But it’s just not the same. Which is why I haven’t called them.

We visited my mom one last time before she passed away.

My mom was an expert grandma. She honed in on the kids and listened to all their jokes, stories, and school updates. She gave them books that have a recorder in them where she reads them the book. I lost it one night after she died when I couldn’t fix one of the books to bring her voice back. I was so frustrated that the batteries weren’t working. I pounded on the book (stupid move) and finally her voice came back.

Happy Mother’s Day

I always thought Mother’s Day was silly. Seems like moms should get a month for raising us kids. I had a good mom. She tried her best. She taught me a lot of good things.

And when I had big mountains to climb she always picked up my call.

I visited her gravesite a couple weeks after the burial. I had my beehive with me and let some bees out to pollinate the lilacs in her cemetery.
I visited her gravesite a couple weeks after the burial. I had my beehive with me and let some bees out to pollinate the lilacs in her cemetery.

I hope you have a great Mother’s Day. Give your mom a call or a visit and don’t limit your interaction to just this Sunday.