When I was little, I would cry every time my mom took me to buy new sneakers. It was something about the way they felt on my feet. Everything had to fit really tight or I would Lose. My. Shit. I would pull the laces as tight as possible and freak out if my heel would slip just the slightest bit. On multiple occasions, I would pull the laces so tight they would snap, and I was forced to buy those broken laced shoes (even if they weren’t the ones I wanted). It was almost guaranteed that I would leave frustrated, angry, embarrassed, dripping with tears with a pair of sneakers that I hated (and probably only got in the first place because the cool kids in school had them ei. LA Lights or BK Ratch). After purchasing the shoes, my mom would apologize to the clerk in the shoe store, drag me to the car and hide her embarrassment as best she could. My point? Mom has always been there for me. Through every single snapped shoelace, every failed test and every irrational tantrum, Mom was there.
I have always and will always be a “Mama’s Boy.” It is a term that was used playground slander when I was in school and has always carried a negative connotation, but that never bothered me. I am proud to say I am the man I am today because of my mom.
My mother is the greatest person I know. She is the rock of our family. She is strong, caring, honest (even when you don’t want her to be), compassionate and full of love. When I think of the man I am now and I owe so much of that to my mom.
I have learned so much from her over these 25 years. She taught me all about nature when we climbed mountains together, and taught me how to bait a hook. Mom taught me to draw Superman and step up my Crayola art from just stick figures. She showed me how to make fart sounds with my armpits (which provided hours of laughter). More importantly, she taught me how to be a good friend and a better brother. She taught me to treat everyone I know with respect and to do everything I can to make this world a better place. Mom’s lessons were more than just words, though.
A few years ago, I went down to Haiti to do some work at a small hospital after the earthquake. I was down there for a few months and I was lucky enough to have my mom come down and join me for a week. I had never seen her happier than that week. She loved to wake up to the sounds of roosters in the morning and spend the day with the kids in town coloring and playing games. In Haiti, she did what she has always done best. She made sure, no matter what, that she tried her hardest to make the kids around her happy. I was so proud of her those weeks and I am still incredibly proud of her every day.
She has had one hell of a life and made the best of every situation. She has seen victories and so many challenges, but she keeps making the best of life and sets an example to her sons to aspire to. I have always looked up to my mom and I always will. I am the man I am today because of her.
I may not cry when I buy sneakers now, but (like every man) I still need my mom.