1. I would buy my mother a house.
  2. This is the absolute first thing I would do.
  3. I wouldn't even hesitate.
  4. I'd let her choose, of course, but just the fact she'd have a choice would be a greater gift than I think even I can imagine.
  5. You see, when my parents divorced (I was two when they separated, four when it became official), my mother had a choice.
    My father said she could have the house they owned or their savings/assets which amounted to basically the same amount? I don't know, I'm no financial wizard.
  6. She chose the money.
    She had a boyfriend at the time and they planned and built a house together.
  7. The ended up splitting up.
    But that's for another list: The Fathers I Have Known And Loved, or something.
  8. Since then, we've always rented.
    For many years we lived in a tiny house. We ended up moving out because we wanted more space and found the "perfect place."
  9. The perfect place until the owners wanted to move back in.
    Six whole months later. We were barely settled.
  10. The next house, the same thing happened.
    Albeit a few years later.
  11. The next, two years.
  12. The next, less than one.
  13. Right now, we've been here eleven months and we're waiting for the other shoe to drop.
    I won't go into details because it's none of my business, but soon we won't be able to afford our rent here.
  14. Every time we've gotten that bad news, I've known before my mother could even deliver it.
    Every single time, she's sobbed and said she's let us down.
  15. My mother has never let us down.
    She didn't let us down when she chose the money over the house. She hasn't since and won't ever.
  16. I don't blame her for the fact we've had to move so many times, that we've had so much bad luck as renters.
    Though I share her weariness. During the last move, we both got very depressed. I got anxious and suicidal.
  17. I wish every day I could grant her security.
    When I was very young, she always hid how bad our circumstances were. I would have never known if I didn't grow up and put the pieces together.
  18. I would give anything to pay her mortgage up front and know she's sleeping soundly without worrying whether we'll get kicked out.
    Or if we can even afford to stay another month.
  19. There are countless things I'd do if I won the lottery.
    Travel is the loudest call to me.
  20. But first I'd buy my beautiful mother a home.
    So she might have some security. She's earned it.