She was THAT mom, whose kid went around looking "like Gravel Gertie" because she couldn't bear to force a brush through a screaming, crying tender-headed kid's hair.
She was that mom who gave up trying to spank her kid because the kid always ran away and it ended in a giggling game of tag every time.
She was that mom who "wasted" her food stamps on soda and ice cream sandwiches, or sometimes Gushers, or Great Bluedini Kool-Aid, or whatever new snack her kid wanted to try that week.
She was that mom who could barely pay the bills, yet bought her teenager an electric guitar and never once complained that said teenager never learned to play. She was that mom who bought her kid an acoustic guitar, too, even though she still hadn't learned the electric one.
She was that mom who let her kid stay home from school everytime the kid had anxiety or a 'tummyache' because she hated school, too, and she knew how rough it could be. She was that mom who called up the school and told them her daughter would not be coming back, when they denied her daughter a homebound teacher while she was sick with mono.
She was that mom whose kid was GOING to have a Nintendo 64 no matter how sold out they were, or how broke she was, because it meant the world to her kid. She was that mom who picked her kid up early from school to go get one, because her kid's happiness was more important than the last 30 minutes of fifth-grade English.
She was that mom whose house was always a wreck because there were Barbies all over the den, books all over the living room, dressup clothes all over the bedroom and Play-Doh all over the kitchen table. She was that mom whose bathroom wall was fingerpainted with palm trees and beach balls because she wanted the bathtub to be "Hawaii".
She was that mom whose only rule was "No running in the house while there's a record playing or a cake in the oven". That mom who let her daughter paint her room neon green, and then deep burgundy, and then bright orange, without worrying about the future saleability of the house. That mom who let her daughter wear black lipstick and dye her hair purple and chat on the internet until 4 AM.
She was that mom who began life as a racist homophobic anti-Semite, but never turned away her kid's black and Jewish and queer friends. She was that mom who loved them all, in the end. She was that mom who couldn't understand when her daughter's friend tried to explain why he liked to wear women's clothes, but smiled anyway and gave him some of her extra purses.
She was that mom who let her daughter's boyfriend move in and live in her house for a year, even though he never paid rent or helped around the house, because he had nowhere else to go.She was that mom who gave up every religious and political conviction she'd held for her entire life on the day her daughter stood in the kitchen and told her she might be a lesbian. She was that mom who gave her daughter a big hug and said "And you could still get married and have kids, even! Just wait until your aunt dies first", and turned tears into laughter.
She was that mom whose final conscious act was to fight like hell to squeeze her daughter's hand, even when she could barely move her eyes, because she wasn't going to die without trying, one more time, to comfort her kid.
I love you, Mama.