more praiseThe dirty diapers, the 3 a.m. feedings, the unending laundry. Mom deserves more praise. The millions of meals cooked, the boo-boo kisses, the bedtime stories. As an unattributed quote reminds us, “Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother.”

If my mother were still alive, I’d be showering her with more kudos. I wonder if any of us ever thank the people we love enough. Is it possible to over-appreciate the littlest of things like grilled cheese sandwiches cut on a diagonal and oyster crackers in our tomato soup? Moms know just how to perk us up with these simple extras—the sweetest of tiny gifts wrapped in reassuring Just-Because-I-Love-You.

Life Pivots Too Quickly

The diagonal-cut sandwiches and oyster crackers are just a few of the things I miss about my mama. Bernice Lorraine died 20 years ago today, March 11, 2001. Mom’s graduation to heaven was truly unexpected. She had beaten her glandular skin cancer even though her radiation treatments ravaged her gums and crumbled her teeth. Dang!

But Mom was ever valiant and didn’t complain about her pain and the cosmetic changes to her face and neck. Just when Mom was looking forward to dental implants, some wily mouth bacteria slithered to her heart. The ensuing infection and stroke forced life to pivot too quickly. Much too quickly.

And much too soon, I found myself wandering the Past Tense Path. Mom was. Mom loved. My mom used to…. In an instant, Bernice left these “surly bonds of Earth” for her much better place. But me. Well. I’ve had two decades to miss her and appreciate her all the more.

Thank Our Moms

My mom most definitely deserved more praise. Maybe yours does too. If your mother is still alive, take some extra time in coming days and call her, text her, hug her. She deserves your kudos big and small. Thank your mom for those diaper changes and the doctoring up your scuffed knees. Bless her for putting up with your stubborn streaks. Honor her with loads of respect.

If you’re estranged from your mom, I encourage you to nudge out of any defensive shell and risk forgiveness. It may take time to unthaw your frozen emotions, but warming up your heart to another can bring healing benefits. I know. Mom and I reached an impasse in my 20s and I so glad we didn’t stay there.

So if you find yourself lately at the corner of Past Tense Path and Future Starts Now, don’t feel rushed to scurry forward. Like me, you may want to reminisce a bit and pull out the treasured photos. And while you’re at it, think about how to praise your mom more. I’ll get us started.

Mom, I miss your laughter and your fun spirit. Thank you for just being YOU. I bet heaven’s shrimp scampi is out of this world. I love you always. Oh, and thanks for those diagonal grilled cheese sandwiches and oyster crackers in my tomato soup.