mom_and_me.jpg She fed me, clothed me, tickled me, comforted me, and strategically covered my baby-nakedness with wash-cloths in pictures. My mother, ladies and gentlemen. Leslie Ellen Pancoast. It may be cliche to offer up my blog entry to my mom on this date, but who cares? And who, really, can stop me?

Mom has been so many things to me, it's only fair that I give her some space here, in the open book that is my mind. Short, maybe. Sweet, definitely. Plus, I guilt-tripped her only this morning about not reading my stuff more often... so I'm sure to get her attention this time! (Besides, she's probably the only person who can name the movie from which I pulled the title of this entry.)

In 1983 my folks were young, happily married, and getting ready to start their family. I was on the way. St. Patrick's Day was my due date, and my grandmother flew out from Chicago to be present at my birth.

mom_wedding.jpg But I wasn't quite ready to be born. Nope. I liked being all wrapped up in a ball, warm, floating, having my every need met. I was already spoiled! So the seventeenth came and went without so much as a move from me. My mom is a patient person, but only to a point. Finally, almost a full two weeks after the 9-month mark, she and my dad calmly drove to the hospital to have labor induced. My entrance to the world was fashionably late, painful... but much anticipated. When my mom held me for the first time, she knew she'd never love any little girl more than me.

So many of my childhood memories are happy ones, filled with balloons and smiles. Mom taught me how to bake (and to lick the spatula!), how to play cards (particularly one magic trick that no one else can figure out), and how to do gymnastics. There was one year, and this is the only time I'll ever admit it, that I attempted to be a cheerleader because I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my esteemed cheerleader of a mother. I failed, both regretfully and thankfully. Valiant effort. I kept forgetting to snap and stomp!

We fought, bickered, played the mind games, got lost in the maze that falls in the generational gap. Yet she was one of my best friends when I was in high school, and she's always been my supporter. Most of all, though, she is my role model. Considering her work ethic, ambition, success and command of respect in her field of work, and also her long, stable, happy marriage... there are few others in this world I could point to as better examples of people who have lived well. I'd count myself lucky if I turned out just like her.

Mom proudly stood by my side with my dad when I was recognized as the Most Valuable Player on my varsity volleyball team. She was there when I graduated from LHS. She helped me move into my first apartment in Davis (and she hugged me as I cried when I left home that year). She clapped and danced when I called to tell her I was engaged. She helped me immensely as I planned my wedding. She generously gave of her time and energy, money and bargaining skills. And on my wedding day she held my hand, kissed my cheek, told me I looked beautiful.

mom_baking.jpg There has never been a moment when I didn't know how much my mother loved me. God blessed me to be sure. Sometimes I really don't feel I deserve it, either. And I miss Mom when I am home in my house with my husband and my cats, a "grown-up"... a "married lady"... She gives me valuable advice when I call to ask for it, but she never pries or pushes. The perfect mother. Nowadays we meet for lunch every once in a while. Less often now that she has her new job. I'm so proud of her.

We'll always have our inside jokes. When I graduated from high school she took me to London as my grad gift. The memories we keep from that trip alone are priceless! Life may get crazy, at some point I'll be a mom myself (a scary thought, and one I won't consider for quite a while yet so please... no pressure), but Leslie Pancoast will still be there for me whenever I need her. My rock, my love, my friend... my Mommy.

Happy Mother's Day!