Every Mother's Day, my Facebook and Twitter feeds blossom like a bouquet of roses. Expressions of love like petals bloom about how their mother is the best and why she deserves that title.
But they're all wrong.
So many memories pop into my mind about my mom as I sit to write this. She was a stay at home mom for her two boys and twin girls while we were in elementary school and because of it, she typically landed in the role of room mother or volunteer.
I can remember being in second grade just before Christmas break, and my mom was able to juggle three parties within the same campus. (My sister and I were in separate classes and my brother was a grade above us.)
That alone might be considered a pretty great feat, but there's more. She actually brought almost 100 homemade cookies--from her delicious, top-secret sugar cookie recipe--between the three classes. And if memory serves me correctly, she even brought frostings and sprinkles for each class so we could decorate our cookies.
Fast-forward about four years later: Mom had to start working to help keep the household bills afloat, but she still managed to show up in the middle school hallway with some goodies she made for my class.
"I wanted to bring these to you--I have to go to work!" she said before she scrambled to her newest job. That incident has always resonated in my mind--she didn't have to do it, but she simply did.
As the four of us got older, the activities and sports began to pick up, but you always knew that Mom and everyone else would be there, watching. From being Big Red, drama plays and playing in the band; football, basketball and "Night of the Notables"; volleyball and art displays, and golf and choir concerts--she was there.
Occasionally she would buy the picture packets (especially the athletic photos), but when she did she would make it a point to buy the button. She would wear it when she went to the home events, and when work got in the way to where she couldn't travel to games, she wore it proudly at work.
But as each child graduated and moved on to college, marriage and child-rearing, Mom's expression of love only got better and definitely more creative. One particular case in point: you hadn't officially left the nest until Mom sent you some homemade tortillas. Sharing the amazing treat was encouraged, but left up to you.
I can also remember the eager anticipation as a college junior awaiting my care package--designated for Easter or Valentine's or another holiday, which was routine by this point. A lot of my friends rarely got packages from home, and while I felt bad for some of them, my pride quietly rose within me. My mom rocked.
Being a married Serrano kid (son, at this point) also has its perks. Each anniversary brings a care package to the doorstep courtesy of Mom, with items correlating to that year's traditional or sometimes modern gifts. (From the outside, I can say it's pretty easy to guess what the theme is...but she's been proven wrong on some occasions.)
There are so many tangibles, but beyond that Mom gives so much more--advice, care, love. While she will let you know when you've done something wrong, she'll let you know when she's proud of you. But one of the greatest testaments of my mom is her exhibition of faith.
I have personally witnessed her give her life to Christ, and allow Him to change her into His image by letting go and growing in Him. For over 15 years she was faithful to her church ministries working with children and has a love for them that rivals anyone. "Mama Serrano" is still recognized by thirty-somethings who remember her good cooking and her warm demeanor, while today's children know that "Mrs. Mary" will always be there looking out for their best interests.
And today, "Nana" has four little angels who mean the world to her. If a month passes, it's been too long since she's seen them. When an opportunity to watch her grandkids falls through, you know her heart's breaking a little. But to her, it's all in God's will, and she waits for the next time.
Several years and personal accomplishments stand in my way before I have the honor of being called "mother"--if it ever happens, Lord willing, but I can say with assurance that, aside from God, I have had the absolute best teacher to prepare me for one of the greatest roles in a lifetime.
So to my mom--though all the words in the world or expressions of devotion can never say the phenomenal impact you've made in my life--all I can say is: "Happy Mother's Day...I love you."
Belinda Serrano is a staff writer at the Sweetwater Reporter. Comments about this column may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.