When you’re a kid, it’s easy to take a great mom for granted. She’s the only mother you know, so she becomes the standard, what you suppose all mothers are like. If she’s a mom like mine, you are safely confident  that all mothers are absolute and uncompromising beings of selfless love and support.

Maybe it was naive, maybe it was optimistic, maybe it was ignorant, but at that time in my life I assumed everybody’s moms  were as great as mine. Why wouldn’t they be? It wasn’t until I was away at college that I encountered kids who described other kinds of mothers. I remember being immediately sad for them. How could their mothers act those ways, say those things? And there seemed to be a greater number of these parental experiences that I thought could be possible, so many that I soon felt mine was part of a tiny minority.

I told stories to my peers of baked goods and home-cooked meals I ate with my family. She kept a lush and productive garden (still does), immaculately cleaned the house, and still had time to help me study and attend all my concerts, games, and meetings. Until I was too old to trick-or-treat, I remember handmade Halloween costumes every year, some elaborate as any theatrical attire. These stories first met open disbelief and eventual mockery. I stopped telling the stories. Only later did I realize that my dorm neighbors were jealous. I was unintentionally salting wounds.

Now I’m grown and live hundreds of miles from my mom. It was tough when my father died and I knew she was alone. How would she cope? It turned out that the smart, hard-working, positive woman managed just fine. Better than I could have hoped, she surprises and impresses me all the time with her energy and ingenuity. I think, deep down, I knew she would.

Of all the time, love, and support my mom has given me over the years, nothing means more to me than her encouragement to pursue my dream of writing. It started as soon as I showed interest in being an author, some 30 years ago, and it’s as steadfast as it ever was. Maybe she knew writers are often prone to insecurity, but she was probably just being herself, being my mom. It’s the only way she knows to be, and I’m very grateful.

So, THANKS, Mom, for everything you’ve ever done and all the things you continue to do. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. I hope you get lots of time with the people you love.