I think I only began to truly appreciate my mom when I became a mother myself. Then I grasped how much money ten years of ballet lessons cost. I realized the heart it took for her to stay up all night, sewing my prom dress. I figured out why she made me take hated swimming lessons as a child and wouldn't let me watch "R" movies till I was 18. And now that my kids are nearly grown, I finally understand the strange little expression on her face when I happily announced I was going to move from my sleepy little town of Paradise, California to L.A., eight hours away.
But my mom did more than play chauffeur and attend choir concerts and provide a shoulder to cry on when my heart was broken by stupid high school boys. She believed in me.
I wanted to be a princess when I was six. Castle. Knight in shining armor. Long, flowing dress. The real deal. I don't remember her once laughing at my dream.
When I was eight, I was going to be a ballerina. Never mind that I was too short and too un-svelte. Mom signed me up for lessons, and when I danced as "Winter" for Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," she attached hundreds of pieces of tinsel to my tutu, strand by painstaking strand.
When I was eleven, I inherited an upright grand piano from my great-aunt. Of course, Mom had to sign me up for piano lessons, because I was now going to be a musician.
At thirteen, I fell madly in love with singing. Mom never uttered a discouraging word.
At sixteen, I ran my own little ballet school, and she loaned me the money for my first month's rent on the building.
After college, I planned to move to the big city to try to make it in the music business as a rock star. Despite the tears in her eyes, she told me she wanted a copy of my first record.
In my 30s, I decided to try voiceover acting. Even though she had no idea what voiceover was, she said she knew I could do it.
Now I've embarked on a writing career, and you know what? Mom is still there, cheering me on. And that means more than a lifetime of sack lunches and PTA meetings.
I wonder what she'd say if I told her I was running for President?
Happy Mother's Day, everyone!
Sarah McKerrigan... Stories to keep you up all night! LADY DANGER Riding to the rescue April 2006