This post has been updated from when it was published on Mother's Day, 2012.
My dad used to joke the only reason he married a Sicilian woman was so that he could have little black haired, brown eyed babies. Naturally, I popped out a ginger.
Then everyone joked that I was the milk man's baby, which really didn't make sense because the red hair came from my dad.
But I digress ...
When I think back at my childhood, I have lots of fond memories of my mom.
I remember thinking she was beautiful and I wanted to show her off to my friends.
I remember how she cradled me. She always wore white (still does), and I would listen to her heartbeat, or her voice through her chest as she chatted with girlfriends. I remember the way she would hum to calm me and her soft fingers on my forehead and cheeks. She encompassed unconditional love.
Along with her unconditional love came a Sicilian parenting style I lovingly call no-nonsense. She was able to discipline, quite effectively with her eyes. I never got away with being naughty - she was consistent and firm. I needed it, because I have a natural tendency to have a sharp tongue. It taught me quite a bit about respect and kindness. To this day I think twice about being disrespectful and unkind. But, since I'm human and some people are total nutbags, sometimes I need to think thrice ... sorry mom :)
As an adult, she has deeply supported me in everything I've done. When I write something I hope is funny, I have her read it first - then she goes line by line with what she loves about it and we laugh and laugh together. After we're done laughing, she tells me she needs to lose a few pounds so she can fit into her favorite skirt for when Ellen wants to interview her after I become famous.
And she's dead serious.
Whether I ever reach that type of success isn't actually important. How it makes me feel to know she believes in me that deeply, does.
That doesn't mean if I told her I was trying out for American Idol, she wouldn't intervene. Or gently persuade me not to, then get really, really nervous and steal my car keys. She would. The woman supports my endeavors to nurture my natural talents. When we both discovered crocheting wasn't a part of my destiny after I created my 15th jacked up hat, she fully supported my desire to retire my needles.
She taught me what criticisms I need to listen to and learn from. She taught me how to spot dysfunctional idiots that need to be ignored (sometimes I have trouble telling the difference). She picks up the phone the 18 times I call her throughout the day when I'm feeling insecure and allows me to process it with her. Over. And over. And over again.
Although, at some point she has no problem telling me enough is enough and to go pray about it already and get over it. I mean, she says it more loving than that - but good grief, we've been talking about it all day and her favorite shows are on.
Mom's aren't perfect. I know I won't be. But for those of us lucky enough to be unconditionally loved by one (biological or not) or by a woman who cared enough to love us like daughters, then let's take some time today to honor them.
I mean for cripes sake, they sacrificed their bodies and their youth for us, the least we can do is give 'em a shout out.
Share your favorite thoughts of you moms or important women in your life in the comments ... we'd love to hear from you!