“Most valuable of all, my Mom gave me the gift of her support through my triumphs and my losses, and made herself a role model for the type of mother I someday hope to be.”
A couple of week’s ago, April 16th to be exact, I sat down at the breakfast table next to my Mom with a huge sigh. The almighty IRS had granted us lowly peasants a reprieve, giving us a few extra days after the regular tax deadline to pay the piper. This, of course, did not mean that I got my taxes done any sooner than the last possible minute, but instead meant that I got a couple of extra days to procrastinate.
I really had no intention of roping my Mother into my tax deliberations, but low and behold, that’s what happened. She and I trudged through Turbo Tax’s intruding questionnaire way into the late hours of the afternoon. I could have gotten my taxes done on my own, but like everything else in life, it’s so much better with Mom’s support. Just like so many other trying times in my life, my Mom was there by my side.
She was the one I looked to for cues as I tried to process my father’s failing health, and later, his death. She was always a model of resilience and strength. Whatever curve balls his Alzheimer’s threw at her, she met them at bat. As we sat there, trying to figure out what information the IRS wanted, I realized there was a time when she was just as much at a loss as I felt now doing my taxes.
“Mom, what did you do when you realized Dad couldn’t do the taxes anymore?”
“I didn’t know what to do!” she admitted unabashedly. “Dad had always handled the taxes, I never had to worry about it. And then suddenly, when his Alzhiemer’s took over, I had to figure it all out. There we were, scrambling the day before the deadline, trying to get it done. It was a mess!”
They did get it done, and like any resilient woman, she found a more efficient way to do it the next year, and that was when using Turbo Tax became a family tradition.
Whether or not she had the aid of tax software, I still found myself staring at her in awe. In my work with the Women’s Peace Collection I have been combing the globe, selecting meaningful gifts for our Mother’s Day Collection that women like me could give to their own Mothers to show them how much it meant to have them in their lives. We made some beautiful selections, with deeper meanings behind them that truly reflect the giving and resilient spirit of womankind: a peace pendant made from dismantled nuclear weapons, a statue of mother and child from a woman-owned business in Kenya, aprons that allow women in rural china to work for themselves.
Now, sitting with the woman who gave me life, I reflected on I how many gifts I have received from my Mother, beyond her tax help. My Mother gave me her love and attention and a safe embrace to run to when I was a child. She gave me my sharp wit, my single-mindedness in the pursuit of my goals, and the inability to give up when life put obstacles in my way. She gave me the gifts of perseverance, the tendency to laugh in the face of life’s frustrations, and the ability to share tender kindness to another in their times of need. My father was the poet, but my Mother is a storyteller, and from her I inherited the talent of being able to weave a tale out of thin air. Most valuable of all, she gave me the gift of her support through my triumphs and my losses, and made herself a role model for the type of mother I someday hope to be.
Thank goodness for Mother’s Day, reminding us to take the time to reflect and celebrate the gifts our Mother’s gave us.
There is nothing I could ever do, say, or buy that would pay back the gifts my Mother has given me. But there are those sweet little reminders you can give, to signify your love, affection, and, of course, our appreciation.