Dear Mom, I Remember.

My mom is the toughest woman I know. She is much, much tougher than a cookie. My mom could crush steel in her hands and put scratches in teflon if it were in the name of love.

This woman is a diamond.

My mom is the daughter of a strong woman, who was the daughter of a strong woman. Three generations of toughness. Sometimes I just don’t understand why the struggles in this world can’t be more equally distributed. Why do some people have to hold such a heavy burden in life? It takes an amazing person to carry the load that my mom carries, and by the grace of God she does it with a smile on her face.

Dear Mom,

I want you to know that I remember.

I remember that time in grade school when you took off work to come to my field day. I remember watching you walk across that field in your flowing skirt and thinking to myself that I had the prettiest mom on the field. It didn’t even matter how many gold stars I had on my field day badge as soon as you arrived.

I remember those oh so magical Christmas mornings when everything in the house just seemed to sparkle. I remember the most beautiful trees, the piles of presents that were exactly right, and of course the babka bread. Those days, I never noticed the bags under your eyes, but I know that they were there.

I remember how you worked all day, kicked off your high heels, and then stood there working in that kitchen every. single. night. You worked so hard for us to have a sit down family dinner. I loved the nights when you decided to serve us weenies and beanies.

Mom, I remember that time my friend Kelly came over and wrote her name in the dust on our coffee table. You sat me down and told me something that I understand a whole lot more now than I did that day. You told me how hard it was to work full time and keep a clean house too. You told me that there are other things in life that are far more important than dust, and boy is that true.

I remember that butterfly birthday party that you planned for me. All those games were so much fun! I remember how you took pennies and sprinkled them all over the lawn for us to find. That watermelon fruit salad basket was so cool!

I remember the smiley face pancakes.

I remember our trip to Dutch Wonderland.

I remember the matching blue robes you made for us.

Of course, I remember all of those Halloween costumes. I have no idea how you found the time to make those things. The lion, the flower petals that you shaped out of hangers, the nun costume. All stitched to perfection.

I remember when you let me design my own bedroom. We went to the fabric store together and picked out fabric. You sewed those pink and green striped curtains, comforter, and pillows. You let me paint my room green even though it is your least favorite color. You inspired me to create a matching piece of abstract art with paint splashes to hang over my bed.

Mom, I even remember that time in school when I got in trouble for speaking up to the teacher. You taught me that it is okay to stand up for what you believe in as long as you are doing it in a respectful way. Thank you for teaching me that lesson at an early age.

I remember that time during my early adolescence when I had a major temper tantrum and threw the brush at you because my bangs wouldn’t curl right. This is not an excuse, but it was the eighties and bangs were really important. Thanks for just standing there so patient and calm while I acted like an idiot.

As I grew older, I remember that you gave me the perfect balance of freedom and structure. You gave me the room to make mistakes and then helped to pick me back up when I floundered. I remember thinking that some of my friends had parents that were too strict, while others had no discipline at all. You were somewhere right in the middle and it was perfect.

I remember those expensive prom dresses you bought me. The ones we probably couldn’t afford. Somehow you always made it happen.

Mom, I remember how you were there for me through all of the heartbreak with boyfriends and break ups. You taught me that saying, “The looser the leash, the less they linger.” You taught me how to be independent, and to be careful not to smother. You even peeled me off the ground and helped me to pack up and move back home after an abrupt end to one long relationship. That was an extremely difficult time in my life and I will never forget how you helped me get through it.

Mom, I remember the many things you have done for me as an adult. I remember it all.

I remember when Ray and I bought our first house. You came over and helped us paint it. We painted every room in that house and you did most of the trim work. You have always been so good with detail work like that.

I remember your support through my wedding. I remember my wedding shower at your house, with all those perfect details that you always put into everything you do. I cherish those shopping trips we had together to find our dresses. That dress looked awesome on you.

I remember how you gave up your lunch breaks at work to come let Dewey out of his cage when he was a puppy. You taught him how to give you his paw. I noticed that look he had in his eyes when he would do that for you. His eyes sparkled for you all the way up until the day that he died. He knew how special you were.

I remember that you were there with me in the hospital on the day my first child was born. You came to the rescue when I desperately needed some sleep during that first week home with my new baby. No matter what, you always came to the rescue. ALWAYS came to the rescue.

I remember the time you dropped everything to come help me grade papers at school the night before report cards were due. I thought I was going to have a nervous break down that day, but everything was better when you arrived.

I remember the time you clipped pine branches and holly with me in the dark to help me make last minute gifts for parent volunteers at school when money was tight. You didn’t complain one bit.

And speaking of money being tight, I remember when you let me go grocery shopping in your pantry. I remember the many times that you gave us your last fifty dollars to help us get by until pay day. I remember those things.

I will always remember the way you speak to my children. The way you take the time to really listen to them. The way you make every moment with them so special. They love the time they get to spend with you. Every minute is saturated with love.

Mom, there are so many memories that I hold tight. I want you to know that I remember all of the things you have done for me over the years, both big and small. They all made a difference. I remember the sacrifices that you made and the hardships that you faced. You are an amazing mother. You are an amazing person.

My mom is the toughest person I know. She is a diamond.


  1. Jill Wood
    July 28, 2017 / 2:52 pm

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your childhood memories with your readers.

    • Chrissie Rissmiller
      July 29, 2017 / 1:30 am

      Thanks so much, Jill. It was definitely one of my most heart-felt posts and I enjoyed writing it. :-)

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