dys·func·tion /dɪsˈfʌŋkʃən/ [dis-fuhngk-shuhn]–noun
1. Medicine/Medical . malfunctioning, as of an organ or structure of the body. 2. any malfunctioning part or element: the dysfunctions of the country's economy. 3. Sociology . a consequence of a social practice or behavior pattern that undermines the stability of a social system.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

The last time I saw my mother for Mother's Day was 2008.

Well, actually it was April of 2008 for our Mother's Day visit.

We were supposed to get pedicures together (see: spend time together) but she decided not to.

This will be my third Mother's Day without her.

This post is about someone else.

Image from here.

Mrs. Johnson* is the mother of one of my dear friends. All throughout elementary school she would volunteer for various programs, bake the heck out of something for students, and love her two boys as much as any mother could.

When we reached highschool age it never surprised me how smart her children were. How super polite they could be, and how they just oozed compassion and empathy. After spending ten or twenty minutes with Mrs. Johnson* it was pretty obvious where they got it from.

I never had the pleasure of spending any time with Mr. Johnson*... just an unfortunate series of scheduling conflicts... so Mrs. Johnson* gets all of the credit.

Whenever I think of my goals for motherhood, of the woman that I want to be for my children, this one particular woman jumps into my head. The warmth that she exuded for all of the children that walked into her life; the compassion she had for the problems of my youth; the time that she spent with me. Me. A child who was not her daughter, for whom she had no responsibility for, and yet she loved me, and she listened, and she cared, AND IT MADE A DIFFERENCE.

After Shake'n'Bake was born she gave me books. She told me that no matter what, I should always find the time to read to my children. Always find a few extra moments to share something as magical as reading with them.

The sentiment was echoed by her shortly after Splat was born. Read. It will make a difference to your child.

So I do.

I do because I have a passion for reading; because Shake'n'Bake has developed a real love for reading; because language skills will develop. I do it for all of these reasons, but most of all I do it because she told me to. When Shake'n'Bake asks for one more book I read it, because it is what I believe she would have done with her children.

When my kids need help with their homework, when they need a ride somewhere or a ride home, when their friends come over and I learn to love these children as well - I will owe at least a part of it to her.

And so, to Mrs. Johnson*, you have influenced me in ways that I cannot put into words. Thank you for everything that you have taught me about loving unconditionally. Thank you for spending those few extra minutes with me when I needed it most. Thank you listening, for hugging, and reassuring me when I could not see the light. Thank you for slicing apples and baking cookies when we came over, even though we were much too loud and we drank all of your canned pop. Thank you for picking us up every Friday and giving me precious memories of friendship and joy.

Thank you for being the best mom I know, and Happy Mother's Day.

*name may have been changed to protect the innocent


yellow_buttercup99 said...

If you are talking about who I think you're talking about, she really is an awesome person.

Rae Jeannine said...

Sounds like Mrs. Johnson was an awesome lady and mother. Very touching post and glad you are following her example with your children :).

dys·func·tion said...

@yellow_buttercup99 AND Rae Jeannine: Thank you for your comments! I'm glad that I could find a positive role model for motherhood in my life. I'm truly lucky to have known her.

freda Johnson said...

Dear "taste-of-dysfunction"
This beautiful post made me smile and cry at the same time! You're welcome. I am truly humbled to know I made a bit of a difference in your unsteady world, and beyond touched to have you tell me so on Mother's Day. I (almost) always loved having a gang of kids in our house, and it was so nice to have a girl, when I was always surrounded by boys, as part of the gang. I loved your spit-fire ability to hold your own with that motley crew! I loved your true friendship with my son, being there for him when he came out, being his 'date' at prom, and the always beautiful rendition of "Hallelujah" the two of you sang together. I love you're still a part of his, and my, life.
Keep on reading to those adorable girls, but remember to take a little time to read for yourself, too. :)
love, Mom Johnson