I think mom was expecting a living, breathing doll that she could dress up, and I’d do exactly as told. I do share my birthday with Barbie – maybe the stork got confused? Instead, she gave birth to a stubborn, defiant, free-spirited daughter. I’m sorry the road was a rocky one, mom, but I’m so grateful it has been a long enough one for me to show you I’ve always loved you in spite of our differences, in fact, probably even more so for them.

Julie Anne & Johnnie Friedman

Already a dickens with mom

When I was fourteen, mom was torn between two cities, and the people she loved the most in the world. Saddled with the stress of looking after a dying father she adored in Kansas City, and her beloved husband and two daughters in Des Moines. I only added to her grief as an extremely rebellious young teenager. She made a comment then that stuck with me indelibly, ” I’ll bet when I’m ill, you won’t even bother to come visit me.” I was too busy trying to act like I didn’t need her to tell her that I loved her.

Julie Anne Rhodes with sister Patty, and mother JoAnn

The rebellious teen, my sister Patty, and Mom

I’ve thought about that comment often through the years, especially when unkind words would flow from my mouth, when my heart really meant to say something else. I believe there is a special bond between mothers and their daughters. Tatjana has never once caused me to question that, and reading all of your loving words about your own mothers on my last blog post proves my theory. I want my mother to feel that way too.

Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes

Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes

Okay, so I’m a late bloomer, but I hope my actions speak louder than my words today. It was all I could do to stay schtum when mom gallantly said, “you’re too busy to come home, don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine,” when  we discussed the two knee surgeries she knew she would be having this past week. I’d already booked my ticket home to surprise her for Mother’s Day. I called when I was half way there to apologize for not sending flowers, so I could walk in saying “I sent you me instead.” I think it’s fair to say it was a surprise. For a moment

Julie Anne Rhodes and Johnnie Friedman

Happy Mother’s Day! (click on this photo for another surprise)

I worried it was too much of one for her! I’m sure she thought the pain killers were playing tricks on her – then we both cried tears of joy. The Personal Chef Approach™ is another great way to show mom I love her while she is recovering from surgery. I plan to leave my parents’ fridge and freezer full – all they have to do is “heat to eat” in minutes. Afterall, who could possibly be more deserving? I love you mom. xoxo

PS. Thank you dad for being my co-conspirator! I love you too, and YES, I’ll make you the turkey burgers.

This post was first published on May 13, 2012

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