Ryan Trares: Moms shaped the world around me

Writer’s note — When I first started this column, one of the first ideas I had was how to do a special Mother’s Day version to honor all of the moms in my life. This remains one of my favorite writings, and its message remains true.

This Sunday is designated as Mother’s Day, when families will gather to show love to the moms in their lives.

But I’ve found that every day, in nearly everything I do, is a celebration of the wisdom, compassion and spirit of giving that the mothers in my life have given me.

My own mom raised two rambunctious boys, and one headstrong girl, with a grace I’m not sure I’ll ever have. As the firstborn, I was the introduction to every one of parenting’s challenges — the finicky newborn, the aloof child, the rebellious teenager, the supposedly independent college student. When I think back to my hijinks, I cringe, wondering how she got through it.

But no matter what mistakes I made, she never stopped loving me. She showed me what unconditional love was, even if I didn’t understand at the time.

One of her most infectious traits was her optimism and kindness. I believe that came from her mother — my grandmother — who would light up whatever room she walked into. My grandma knew the importance of family and gathering together, so whenever we would make the trip across Ohio to visit, she was waiting with a big hug and a plate of chocolate chip cookies.

She walked in the woods with me and showed me the treasures of nature. As my siblings and I ran around their shaded yard, she would sit with the rest of the family, watching with a glass of lemonade, keenly keeping an eye out if someone needed a refill or another slice of pie.

On the other side of the family, my grandmother on my dad’s side also emphasized family. Her home was the epicenter of holiday festivities, where her five children, their spouses, and all of their children would come together under one roof. She planned reunions and summertime gatherings, organizing around everyone’s schedule so that the family could be together as often as possible, no matter how spread out they were.

When my wife and I started dating, another mother came into my life. Marci’s mom, Sara, is a big-hearted ball of energy, a master in the kitchen and so adept a gift-giver that you wonder if she can read minds. She is an example of generosity that everyone should strive for.

Which brings me to the mother at the heart of our nuclear family: my wife, Marci.

When Anthony was born, we were bewildered, as all fresh parents are. But leaning on the examples that had been in our lives, we’ve made our way through. Marci took to motherhood naturally, knowing just the right way to hold our son to quiet his cries (a skill she can still employ with brilliance even today.)

She is loving and supportive, eager to play a round of Chutes and Ladders or few games of MarioKart. She’s a whiz with school projects, always up for a dance party and writes encouraging notes for Anthony’s lunches.

Those quiet times, though, when she and Anthony cuddle on the recliner are truly magical. They have a connection that is unmistakable.

Their bond is inspiring, though hardly surprising — Marci would do anything for her child. Like all of the moms who have impacted my life, she makes me strive to be better. But like I already know, nothing beats a mother’s love.

And that’s the way it should be. Happy Mother’s Day.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].