Despite my best efforts, I tend to be more of a glass-half-empty kind of person.
I don’t think that it’s because I’m a negative person, but more so because I’m a realist.
I don’t like to get my hopes up only to have them dashed and I like to make sure I, and other people involved, are aware of the negative and positive sides of something before getting involved.
Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad. I don’t know.
But looking at the good in life before I look at the bad is something I’m working on .
This week has definitely been a time for me to practice.
Last Sunday was Mother’s Day as I’m sure all of you know.
For the past eight years, it’s been a day that I’ve tried to pretend didn’t exist.
I would schedule myself for extra shifts at my job, spend the day doing homework, take a road trip by myself or just stay in and watch movies all day.
It’s just easier to forget and pretend it’s an ordinary day instead of a day for celebrating someone I no longer have; my mom.
It hasn’t always been like that.
I remember getting up early to make Mom breakfast in bed with my siblings.
We’d fumble around the kitchen trying not to burn the toast or spill jelly everywhere before proudly taking the tray into the bedroom and presenting Mom with the toast and cereal or blueberry muffins if we were feeling adventurous.
Dad always bought Mom a corsage to wear to church. Whitney and I also got one too because we were “future mothers.”
I remember being so excited to wear it and doing my best to be as still as possible while Mom pinned it on my dress.
During the course of the day, we kids would try to fight as little as possible and get along with each other because it was Mom’s special day and peace and quiet were what she wanted as a present every year.
As Mother’s Day approached this year, I began to dread it like I always do. Memories of past years came flooding over me along with other memories of riding horses with Mom, sharing my new favorite book with her, watching “The Andy Griffith Show” together and having her teach me how to make apple crisp and cinnamon rolls.
Yes. I miss her.
But something different happened this year. I realized, that while my Mom is gone and I can’t buy her flowers and tell her how much I love her and appreciate her, I now have another special woman in my life that I can tell that to and do those things for.
When Leslie and my dad got married, I wasn’t looking for another mom or someone to fill that empty spot in my life.
In my mind, that spot wasn’t empty. I had a mom and didn’t want anyone taking over for her or “ruining” those memories.
Over the last few years, I’ve realized that making space in my life for Leslie doesn’t mean that I’m tarnishing my mom’s memory or making her any less important.
After a while, I got so used to coping on my own and not having a mother figure that I didn’t think I needed one until Leslie came into my life.
As our relationship has grown and matured, I’ve realized that having someone to call for advice, help me decorate my apartment, be sad with me when I’m sad and to rejoice with me in the good is a wonderful thing.
I understand now that I should consider myself lucky.
For 15 years, I had a wonderful mother who taught me to enjoy the good things in life and how to deal with the bad. She gave me her love of all things horses and how to relish the taste of freshly picked black raspberries.
She taught me how to read and how a good book is best appreciated while curled up on the couch with coffee and a cinnamon roll.
She taught me that you can always tell how a man will treat his future wife by how he treats his mother and that beauty isn’t measured by outward appearances but by a person’s heart.
But now, and hopefully for the next large chunk of my life, I have Leslie.
She’s taught me that a smile and a kind word can make even the worst of days better and that forgiveness is always easier and better than holding a grudge.
From her, I’ve learned that colors don’t have to match, they just have to “go together,” and that there’s joy to be found in a freshly painted room or a new wall decoration.
She showed me it’s okay to cry when you’re sad and when you’re happy and even when you don’t know which of the two emotions you are.
I’ve learned that sometimes, it’s better to just toss a recipe and make something up from scratch and that stepping out of my box and trying new things has its rewards.
So see, I am truly a lucky, lucky girl and I am so blessed to have the mothers that I do.
I know that I will always miss my mom and want her around, but instead of spending the rest of my life thinking about how much I’m missing out on , I want to spend it thinking about what I’ve gained.
I can say that I’ve had not one, but two women showing me what it means to be a beautiful woman inside and out.
And you can bet I’m going to take full advantage of that.