Tomorrow is Mother's Day, a day when we buy our mothers flowers, take them out to brunch and thank them for putting up with us for all these years.
Because, let's face it, it wasn't always easy for Mom.
Take, for example, my own mother, an extraordinary woman who has offered me many lessons throughout my short life.
When I look at my mom now, I sometimes wonder how she did it, raising three kids while working full time. That's no easy task.
My mom's a nurse, a profession I highly respect but could never do. I can't even stand to give blood much less take it, not to mention all the other things registered nurses have to do.
I admire my mom for a lot of reasons. She's smart, funny and easy to talk to.
But what I admire most about my mother is her patience and her ability to take charge in nearly any situation.
My father spent the first few years of my life in the Coast Guard. We moved around a few times when I was younger, as he was transferred to a different station every four years or so.
But the last year my father was in the service, he was stationed on a boat that would spend a year traveling the coastline of America.
It was a year my mother was alone with me and my two brothers, working full time and caring for three kids under the age of 13.
I can't imagine that was easy by any stretch of the imagination.
Then my father retired from the military and we made our way back to the Upper Peninsula. There, my mom took a job at the local hospital, working the night shift for several years.
I can't imagine that was easy either.
In all those years, though, I remember a lot of good things.
I remember coming home from school when I was a kid and sharing a spot on the reclining chair in the living room with my mom, telling her about my day.
I remember spending hours driving her car as she sat in the passenger seat pretending she wasn't nervous. I remember coming down the stairs after receiving my learner's permit and yelling "I'm ready" so my mom could take me to work. She was standing in the living room. She said, "Me too," and handed me the keys. That moment is one of the best moments of my life. That feeling of freedom would be hard to replicate.
I remember trips to the Milwaukee Zoo every summer when we lived in Wisconsin and then, when I was in college, trips to Kalamazoo and Chicago to see such well-known musicals as "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Chicago."
I remember coming home from school to Genesis blaring from the speakers in our front room, my mom dancing around the kitchen as she started making supper.
I remember my mother and I having conversations about books we shared. She instilled in me a love of reading that in all likelihood spurred my interest in pursuing writing as a career. We used to make a day trip to the Brown County Library when we lived in Green Bay. I'd find a Roald Dahl book and curl up in an oversized chair somewhere, turning one page after another. Later, she would give me Stephen King books to read and now, we often trade books back and forth.
But the thing I remember, and appreciate, the most about my mother is that she was there when I needed her, and she still is today.
I've done a lot of stupid things in my day, and though sometimes she'll stand there, shaking her head, she always helps guide me in the direction I need to be going.
And for that, I want to say, "Thanks, Mom."
Oh, and sorry your Mother's Day card is late. I never could send anything in the mail on time.
Editor's Note: Jackie Stark is a Marquette resident and a staff reporter at The Mining Journal. Her column appears bi-weekly. She can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.