My Mother’s Eyes

My mother’s eyes are brown but not the brown you’re probably thinking, they’re light brown with little specks of black, yellow and the tiniest touch of green. I always thought my mother had beautiful eyes, I’ve always been proud to share them with her.  Most people think brown eyes are boring or less attractive than the greens and blues. I’ve always found people with darker features to be gorgeous. My mother is gorgeous. She’s not paper thin, she’s got curves, I remember all of us in the living room dancing along to a VHS tape of “Richard Simmons sweatin’ to the oldies” I remember every move, even now. I could sing every song. We would laugh and laugh, trying to keep up while we sang our hearts out to “Big girls don’t cry”. My mother would pack us all in her mini van and take us to the mall while my sisters and I would bicker back and forth constantly. Mama would get frustrated of course but it never stopped her from taking us places and doing fun things with us. There wasn’t a bone in my body that was afraid to tell her anything, she never judged. I told her about my first real kiss while I was sitting on her water bed and she was cleaning her bathroom, I remember it vividly. When I was 15 I experienced my first broken heart, I thought the world would end, I thought I’d never get over this boy. I sat at the counter in our kitchen watching her cook and she suddenly turned around and said “You miss him, don’t you?” and oh, I did. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. I just pouted around all day for weeks. That night my mother promised me that I would get over it and I wouldn’t hurt forever, she hugged me so tight with tears in her own eyes, the  eyes that looked exactly like mine.

All of our friends loved my mom, she drove us EVERYWHERE with music blasting. Normally, it was Deana Carter’s “Strawberry Wine” but we’d switch it up from time to time. I bet we drove a million miles in that van. Our cheerleading teams, softball teams and basketball teams knew that big white van very well. My mom doubled as my softball coach and my cheerleading coach, she’d probably never done either of those things in her life but she volunteered to coach to be with us and have fun with us. There isn’t a time I can remember when I really needed my mother and she wasn’t there. She pushed us to do our best, she always wanted the best for her 3 daughters.

My mother wasn’t a perfect mother. She made mistakes, some big, some small. I didn’t get every little thing I wanted as a child but I got what I needed. Now that I’m a mother myself and I look into my 12 year old daughter’s eyes, the same eyes my mother gave to me, I gave to her. I don’t know how my Mama found the energy to do all the things she did for us. I know I couldn’t do it. My mom set a high standard for me. Every time I miss a school function, a baseball game or a football game I feel shame because I don’t know what it’s like to not have your mother there screaming your name, with a huge smile on her face, even when you’re not that good. I have always had that. No matter the circumstances, my mother was there. She didn’t have all the money in the world, or the patience of a saint. I got cought changing my grades on my report card in the 9th grade. She marched me right into that school and told on me. I was so embarrassed. She yelled, she lost her temper and I’m sure she threatend my life more than a few times. After we left the school that day she drove me to IHOP and we ate pigs in a blanket. She laughed about it later, she still laughs about it now, that time I traced over my entire report card with blue ink. I’ll never live that down and that’s okay with me.

I think every mother is harder on herself than her children will ever be. My mom has called me crying and apologizing  for my childhood on more than one occasion. I can’t accept that apology because I know that she did what she could, she did the best she knew how in every situation. She doesn’t owe me an apology or anything else at this point. I’m a few months away from my 31st birthday, still she gives. She’s the best grandmother to my children, if I ever need her or my children need her she’s going to be right here in a heartbeat, I know that because she’s proven it to me.

There isn’t a woman on the planet who has a bigger heart, cares more about people and gives as much as she does. There isn’t a woman on the planet who’s eyes I’d rather have. Every time I look in the mirror and every time I look into my daughter’s eyes, I see her and I’m so happy I do.

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