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  • Susie Csorsz Brown

My Giving Tree

It’s kind of hard to say that I want you to acknowledge your mom. Mostly because I feel as though that might sound as though I’m wingeing and I want my menfolk to acknowledge my own role as a mother (ahem). And maybe that is my goal. But. Rather than focus on them, instead, I think I’ll tell you about why I am grateful for my own mom, who is an awesome amazing person. And for whom I am forever grateful.

Sometimes a relationship is hard to capture with words. I’ll give it a go, try my best.

My mom is the kind of person I enjoy being around. Actually, almost everyone really like being around her; even her son-in-laws list her as favorite people. High praise, right? Sometimes, our families are filled with people we ‘have’ to take, for better or for worse. You know what I am talking about: those people we HAVE to spend our Home leave with, even though we’d rather go somewhere more (insert any quasi-positive adjective here) than their living room. Some families are just people we were born related to. Others, though, others rock. They are the ones you have adventures with, invest energy into and make an effort to see. They are the ones you share big things and little things with, and they are the ones you go to first. These are the people that are our rocks, those we can depend on, and sometimes take for granted and know that they will still be there when we are ready again. They are our Giving Tree.

They are our people. And they don’t ask why or how much or how often. They just accept, and love and appreciate, even if it is sometimes from afar for way too long.

That’s my mom.

My mom takes care. When I was little, as with all mamas, she had the mom-magic that could fix any owie. I remember falling out of a truck passenger door (long story; my dad was really sorry), running, screaming, bleeding from all sorts of surface wounds, up the driveway. Oh, my gosh, how I cried, as little girls are want to do. My mom, of course, came running out, scooped me up (ruining her clothes, no doubt), and tended to my owies. I knew she’d fix it. No need for band-aids, no need for magic creams, just my mom. She tends now to similar sorts of situations with my boys. When she visits, she is 100% invested, 100% Grandma (capital G), 100% mom. She is always fixing things – literally and figuratively, making things better. When I know she’s coming, I start to save my things that need fixing, because I know I can certainly do it, but she’ll come up with an even more clever solution, and in the end whatever it was that needed fixing will be even that much better.

That’s my mom.

My mom respects my method of parenting. I didn’t grow up in the time of Dr Spock. I didn’t know about Tiger mom-dom, or positive parenting (I do now!). I just did what I thought was best for my kids. I wanted to respect them, and raise them to be the healthiest, smartest, and most well-adjusted humans ever (no small feat). I thought I knew it all. And my mom didn’t stand back and tell me how wrong I was. Or correct me. She knew I had the best intentions at heart, and that eventually, I too would realize that my little bear wasn’t the first baby ever to be born and that I would realize many – including her – had raised amazing people before me, and that they might have some words of advice. So. She let me realize that on my own, the value added by others. Smart lady. Because now, I see that and I don’t think of her advice as nagging or niggling. Instead, I respect and listen.

That’s my mom.

My mom relishes time with her grandkids. She is 100% on grandma duty when she visits. Luckily, we have enough space in our current home that allows for her to have a place to where she can retreat when she needs a bit of down time, and since we have active schedules, she will often opt to stay home when we go out to various functions with the kids. It’s important to have a balance, right, because when she’s at her own home, she has only her own schedule to heed; here, we have 5 different schedules + Grandma. The kids love their time with her, and know that if they want to play a game or read a book with her, or do a project or art or … really anything. She’ll be game. She’s interested in what they want to do, doesn’t mind the small kid-sized stools, and can listen to an 8-year-old’s rambling story/saga/tale with keen interest. She’s not going to hop on the trampoline, but she’s an enthusiastic audience. She’s happy to sit on a beach and watch grandsons surf. She’s happy go to music exhibits and soccer matches. She’s game to participate/watch/take part in/support.

That’s my mom.

My mom makes an effort to spend time with us. We tend to move around a bit, what with this vagabond lifestyle we’ve adopted. We seem to find rather remote corners of the world; still, she visits. She comes for births. She comes for Januarys. She comes when it’s warm. Or rainy. Or even for August in DC. She visits all over the globe, regardless of heat, humidity or rainy season. When she visits, she is 100% invested, 100% Grandma (capital G), 100% mom. She does have a reputation for missing flights, or for giving up her seat and opting for the next one (often without letting those of us waiting on the other end know), but … she visits. Not just me, though. She goes and spend good chunks of time with my sister, too, to help with the kids when they have scheduling issues. She’s amazing.

That’s my mom.

Moms. We're not asking for a lot. We DO a lot, and we tell you to do a lot, but generally, moms don't ask for a lot. Or at least this mom doesn't. What I do ask for is just like what I gave my mom: Respect. Love. Appreciation. Gratitude. I hope, someday, my grown kids think this fondly of me, too. One day. Right now, I’ll relish my lego sofa gift.

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