It only happened about once a year, but when news broke that she had a trip coming up the word spread through the Singletary house like a wildfire. Terror would show on our faces and we practically hung from the hem of her pants as she walked out the door, begging her not to leave. Why, you ask, was Mom's lovely weekend trip such a panic inducing feat for us? Because my dad loves my mom more than I had ever known a man could love a woman. He spent every day making sure that we respected her the way she deserved to be respected. Some days we didn't get it, but the days we finally understood were the ones spent with Dad in charge. He had painted a picture in his mind that when Mom came home, the house should be clean and homework should be done so she wouldn't have to lift a finger. We would come downstairs the morning after her departure to find a large white-board with a list of instructions on it, the first of which being "No one is allowed in the kitchen until this list is finished. You. Will. Not. Eat. Until: your rooms, bathrooms, and closets are spotless, The laundry is separated and in the laundry room, Your lockers are clean, and the first floor is swept and then vacuumed. I have a fun day planned for us, but we can't have fun until after we work." After hours of cleaning and nights of waiting on Dad's cooking (he is a fabulous chef, but a perfectionist through and through…he once spent all day on a stew and poured it down the drain at 10pm because it wasn't right…oh our grumbling bellies) and being woken in the middle of the night because a task wasn't done correctly, we had a deep longing and appreciation for the woman who brought us into this earth. I am so sorry I spent so much of my childhood pushing you away, Mom, but here 23 years later I can see exactly why Dad loves you so much. You deserve the world, because you have so willingly given your world to us.
The summer before I left for college, my dad sat me down with a very concerned look on his face. He said, " You have lived in the same house as the most amazing woman in the world for 18 years and haven't learned a thing. If I were you, I'd spend this summer asking questions. And listening. It's time to make up for those years." I have spent my days doing just that ever since.
Thank you for helping me find my jerseys that always seemed to disappear the night before a game.
Thank you for paying for some serious orthodonture, and replacing my retainer three times.
Thank you for not letting me wear outfits that revealed things that only my husband should see.
Thank you for praying for me every night since before I was even here on this Earth.
Thank you for giving me a love for fashion and deep appreciation for the ability to travel the world.
Thank you for not kicking me out of the house when I had the nerve to utter the words "I hate you."
Thank you for not giving up on me in high school because you knew I was so lost and desperately needed Jesus.
Thank you for giving me an example of how a wife should serve, submit to, and respect her husband.
Thank you for spanking me, grounding me, taking my phone away and washing my mouth out with soap when needed.
Thank you for being a perfect balance of strength and meekness.
Thank you for being my mother and dear friend.
Blessed beyond measure, because you make every day better.