We're taught to love our mothers no matter what
  1. She refuses to drive anymore.
  2. She used to drive an ambulance.
  3. She was in the Navy. She tried to be a pilot but was rejected because she was a woman.
    She promptly quit, but still loves flying. She always stares wonderingly and longingly at planes in flight. She always talks about it wistfully and romantically, making it seem like the greatest path not taken in her life.
  4. She tried to kill herself when I was 13. And again when I was 15.
  5. We had screaming matches in high school. She called me a bitch.
  6. Every time we talk on the phone now, she ends with telling me how proud she is.
  7. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 12.
    As an adult, I can now look back and understand the manic episodes.
  8. She taught me to read when I was very little. She bought me every book I ever asked for.
  9. She's both a talented quilter and knitter.
    I have a plethora of homemade quilts and scarves.
  10. She used to be different.
  11. She became more anxious, more depressed, more introverted as the years passed.
  12. She used to raise my brother and I alone when my dad was deployed at sea.
  13. Once, my dad was deployed to the DMZ in Korea for an entire year and she took care of us and two dogs alone.
  14. She chopped the head off of poisonous snakes with a shovel in our backyard in Virginia.
  15. She used to take me to the zoo every single day.
  16. She made me elaborate homemade Halloween costumes.
    This includes a butterfly costume that everyone thought was me as a "pink cow."
  17. She used to drive me around playing the B-52s on repeat, singing loudly with the windows of the Volvo down.
    She says I would holler, "Loveshack, momma!" from my car seat in the back.
  18. She was strong and daring and passionate.
  19. She was exhausting and sad and difficult.
  20. My memories with mother are horrible and wonderful.