I think mom was expecting a living, breathing doll that she could dress up, and I’d do exactly as told. I do share my birthday with Barbie – maybe the stork got confused? Instead, she gave birth to a stubborn, defiant, free-spirited daughter. I’m sorry the road was a rocky one, mom, but I’m so grateful it has been a long enough one for me to show you I’ve always loved you in spite of our differences, in fact, probably even more so for them.

Julie Anne & Johnnie Friedman

Already a dickens with mom

When I was fourteen, mom was torn between two cities, and the people she loved the most in the world. Saddled with the stress of looking after a dying father she adored in Kansas City, and her beloved husband and two daughters in Des Moines. I only added to her grief as an extremely rebellious young teenager. She made a comment then that stuck with me indelibly, ” I’ll bet when I’m ill, you won’t even bother to come visit me.” I was too busy trying to act like I didn’t need her to tell her that I loved her.

Julie Anne Rhodes with sister Patty, and mother JoAnn

The rebellious teen, my sister Patty, and Mom

I’ve thought about that comment often through the years, especially when unkind words would flow from my mouth, when my heart really meant to say something else. I believe there is a special bond between mothers and their daughters. Tatjana has never once caused me to question that, and reading all of your loving words about your own mothers on my last blog post proves my theory. I want my mother to feel that way too.

Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes

Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes

Okay, so I’m a late bloomer, but I hope my actions speak louder than my words today. It was all I could do to stay schtum when mom gallantly said, “you’re too busy to come home, don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine,” when  we discussed the two knee surgeries she knew she would be having this past week. I’d already booked my ticket home to surprise her for Mother’s Day. I called when I was half way there to apologize for not sending flowers, so I could walk in saying “I sent you me instead.” I think it’s fair to say it was a surprise. For a moment

Julie Anne Rhodes and Johnnie Friedman

Happy Mother’s Day! (click on this photo for another surprise)

I worried it was too much of one for her! I’m sure she thought the pain killers were playing tricks on her – then we both cried tears of joy. The Personal Chef Approach™ is another great way to show mom I love her while she is recovering from surgery. I plan to leave my parents’ fridge and freezer full – all they have to do is “heat to eat” in minutes. Afterall, who could possibly be more deserving? I love you mom. xoxo

PS. Thank you dad for being my co-conspirator! I love you too, and YES, I’ll make you the turkey burgers.

This post was first published on May 13, 2012

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  • May 13, 2012
    2:10 am

    Happy Mother’s Day to you and your mum! You are a super daughter and I know your mum will love having her freezer full of all your wonderful meals. But, even more, she’s going to love having you home for the hugs alone. Take some time for yourself too and sit back with a cup of coffee and just breathe. Cyber hugs!

  • May 13, 2012
    9:48 am

    HAHA ok I cliked, that was funny and you are a dork! lol Hope you have a wonderful visit with your mama! 🙂

  • May 13, 2012
    4:35 pm

    What a fantastic present for your mom!!! I too was a “rebel” and could not have been more aloof about my mom’s love while being a teenager. In adulthood I could not apologize more if I tried and she always said the same thing, “Of course you were horrible…you were a teenager…that was your job” – I always loved her for that!!! PS – I love the smiley face hair rubber band thingy in your hair, totally flashed me back to my youth…they were SO cool back then!!! HA HA

  • May 13, 2012
    12:06 pm

    Jewels, your blog post actually brought tears to my eyes! I think we have all had that rebellious side and we’ve all said things that probably cut at our mom’s hearts. Being able to sit at breakfast with my mother this morning, was a blessing. I know she knows how much I love her immensely and that I could not have gotten through this life without her. So thrilling that you were able to go home and see your Mom. Happy Mothers Day to you and your Mom!

  • May 13, 2012
    9:21 pm

    You.. rebellious?! 😉

    My sister was much more rebellious than I ever was, though there were a couple times my mom and I butted heads about the silliest thing: my hair. In 6th grade, she insisted on giving me a home perm the night before class pictures; bad idea! It left my hair so fried, I had to have it all cut off and pictures retaken. Then at 15 (1986), I experimented on my own with a very 80s style that was gradually shorter on one side. I loved it; she hated it.. and was so upset with me for having it intentionally cut like that, it was hard for her to speak to me for a week (at least it wasn’t the night before school pix!). Never mind, I was a straight-A honor student with a part time job to boot… gee, she really had it rough! Haha!

    Like most people, there are a million stories… Jewels, I can relate to feeling like a dress-up doll; my parents did the same to me when I was about 4 (which I’ll tell you about soon).

    Despite minor incidents, my mom and I are closer than ever now. We’ve been thru so much together, esp. during the past 15 years. I’m honored to be able to spend this time with her as an adult.

  • May 14, 2012
    7:22 am

    Beautiful story. Love how you surprised her and let her know by your actions how much she means. Hope your time together was (is) filled with happiness.

  • May 14, 2012
    3:26 pm

    I’m greatful for every day that my Mom remembers that I’m her daughter and that she is loved. Alzheimer’s has stolen her memories but not her ability to give and receive love.