The first phase was when I moved out on my own for the first time. I was 20 years old, in college, and had gotten a cute two bedroom apartment near campus. I thought I was doing big things and you could't tell me nothing! My mom was visiting my brother back in Kansas at the time, and I didn't tell her that I was moving out until moving day. She called and asked me to wait until she got back, but I was anxious for my freedom.
My boyfriend at the time borrowed his friend's truck and we packed up all my earthly belongings in one load and drove across town. I think we moved everything inside in less than an hour. My cable wasn't hooked up yet, the apartment looked like the inside of a thrift store, and my refrigerator was empty. I had spent all of my little money on the first month's rent and deposit, and I was stunned at how expensive food was at the grocery store. My mom told me to go home and go shopping in her freezer and pantry until she got home. When she did get back, she helped me shop for decor and brought me groceries. I had always taken for granted the things she provided for me, but she taught me how to take care of my household on a budget.
The next phase of appreciation came when I had my own child. I don't think anyone fully appreciates their mother until they have their own children. You have no concept of how much sacrifice goes into raising a child until you have sleepless nights and empty bank accounts. Every time I'd start to second guess my abilities as a mother, there was my mom telling me I was doing a great job. This was a huge compliment coming from her, who never missed a dance recital or basketball game and always found a way to provide me with everything I ever wanted. I knew if I was a fraction of a mom that my mother is, then I was on the right track.
The final phase of appreciation came when I got a divorce. My parents divorced when I was 6, and while I remember a lot of what happened, I was too young to understand what was really going on. All I know is that my mom managed to move with me to a new state and start a new life, and she made it look so easy. I don't remember my mom ever being sad or filled with worry when she started over from scratch. Even though I was happy my marriage was ending, going through a divorce was so difficult. I was worried about what my son was going through and how everything would effect him. So imagine how shocked I was when my mom told me I was stronger than her!
My mom has been with me through thick and thin, good days and bad days. She has really laid a blueprint for me to follow and I am so grateful to her for that. I love and appreciate my mom for everything she has done for me and for everyone around her.