My fourth grade teacher’s name was Miss R------. It was interesting that she became an elementary school teacher, because she didn’t seem to like children at all. When she got angry she would scream and threaten us; when she wasn’t angry, she still wasn’t particularly nice.
Toward the end of my fourth grade year, as Mother’s Day drew near, Miss R------ gave us an assignment: Write about your mother. I remember sitting in class, staring at the blank piece of paper, unsure how to begin. Eventually I started, and I wrote that my mother said she wasn’t very good at singing.
Miss R------ walked around the room, checking on our progress. She stopped at my desk, and said something to the effect of, “That’s it? Not very good at singing? Boy, you sure do love your mother.” Her voice was filled with sarcasm.
I was annoyed, because of course I loved my mother, and she hadn’t even let me make my point. I went on to write that my mother said she wasn’t very good at singing, but I thought her singing was fine. I went on to write about how great my mother was, and the whole thing turned out very nice and touching, thank you very much, Miss R------.
It was hard for me then, and is hard for me now, to write what’s great about my mother. My mother has always been there for me; my whole life I have felt loved and appreciated. I don’t know what it’s like to have a bad mother, so it’s easy to take mine for granted, but when I step back and think about it, it’s overwhelming.
My mother is committed. When she signed me up for piano lessons or for Boy Scouts or tennis lessons, then I knew I would be going, consistently, for the foreseeable future. When she takes on a project, or joins a committee, or works for a charity, she will give it her all. She doesn’t spend time bragging all about the good work she’s doing; she gets the job done.
She is unfailingly supportive. Even though I know it was disappointing, when she realized I would never be interested in college basketball, she has never given up on me. She has helped me through break-ups, and bad life choices, and financial mishaps, and always encouraged me.
She has always put her family first. I don’t just mean us, the nuclear family. On many occasions she has done the hard, unglamorous work of taking care of elderly relatives.
And even though she never let on, for years and years, that she wanted grandchildren, she is an excellent grandmother. She is always happy to take care of Abby and Jackson, and they are always happy to visit her.
My mother will still tell you that she’s not much of a singer. She is honest, and probably too hard on herself, so I’ll go ahead and brag about her. She is the best mother I know.