Some of my fondest memories date back to when I was very small. My Mom raised me alone in a little apartment next to a railroad track. We didn't have much because she didn't make much. But what we lacked in material goods, she more than made up for in memories. Our one treat each week was to a local TCBY. I remember the view of the world from my child seat on her bicycle. I remember the taste of yogurt covered raisins on my ice cream. I remember being happy in a way that can't be bought. It's safe to say, I worship my mother in a very healthy way because of everything she did and was/is.
When my brothers were born, my Mom was left to parent alone yet again. I don't remember her ever acting as if she weren't up to the job. I never felt like things were out of control. I guess that's the trick. I'm sure there were times where she felt lost and out of control, but she never let us know it. Every Christmas, despite the lack of funds, the tree was always decorated and Santa always came. Each present was so thoughtful. My Mom is the type of person who goes out of her way to find the one gift you didn't ask for but wanted so badly.
Every year I comb the shops and malls for something that will show just how much I appreciate her. I'll admit, I've come up with some pretty clever schemes. One year I bought her a handmade wooden box and stuffed it with a homemade treasure map. The map lead her to the space just behind the T.V. where another gift was waiting. Each year I search, and each year I find a million things she'd love and not one that would show just how much I care.
It finally dawned on me today as I was driving home from work. I will NEVER find the perfect gift. I almost feel foolish. The memories I cherish so much have nothing to do with possessions. What would make me think that I could thank her in the way of something material then? There is nothing that she could hold in her hand that would tell her how much I loved those bike rides or those yogurt covered raisins. Instead, I'll have to be content enough to tell her "I love you" every day of my life and hope that one day I can be half the Mother she was to me.