[With all due respect to Jimmy Dean's classic song]

Mom, I sure hope you're listening

Sweet lady, I owe you for so many things
A lot of services
Like "making sure" for instance:
Making sure we had what we needed and
Most times, making sure we had what we wanted.

Boy, you had the gentleness of a dove
And the wisdom of a serpent but you always
Had a heart as big as the Grand Canyon.

I owe you for services like
Uh, short order cook,chef, baker
For making helper out of hamburger
And miracles out of Spam
And croquettes out of salmon and
Two fairly sized strapping boys out of leftovers.

I owe you for cleaning services;
Cleaning up some messes that I made
And didn't have the sense or smarts
To know what to do with.

I owe you for letting some stuff go;
The stuff that males do that females
Will never understand.
I wonder some days how you lived with
A man and two boys and if you longed for a daughter
In the mix to have tea parties with or sew dresses for.

I owe for not asking sometimes,
Because the truth is, sometimes,
It was best you didn't know.

I owe you for washing and ironing
And teaching me how to do it myself.
I can put a crease in a shirt with the best of them,
Just like you taught me and someday, I'll teach my son.

I owe you for services as a spur:
For spurring me to do that which I didn't think I could,
And spurring me to try and if I failed,
To try again.

And Lord knows I owe you
For medical attention
For nursing me through chicken pox and
Broken toes, the extraction of wisdom teeth, scarlet fever and spring fever.

Oh, oh, let's not forget medical advise like
You can't avoid pimples, but you can reduce
Their prevalence by using witch hazel and
A cold washcloth on your forehead cures a host of evils.

And probably the most
Important advice of em all:
Be sure you
Got on clean underwear
In case you're in an accident.

I'm sure one of your greatest
Hopes was that
I was wearing underwear
In the first place.

And I owe you for scratching my back.
The good Lord alone knows how I love that
And you always had time.
And I owe you for letting John Cougar Mellencamp's Jack and Diane
Blare in my room while I'm sure the lyrics made you nervous.

And for making Christmas, Valentine's Day, and birthdays
Something worth remembering
And for making make believe come true
And you did it all on a Baptist preacher's salary.

I owe you for school help,
For science fair projects and algebra tutoring.
And I owe you for career grace;
For being o.k. when I decided not to be a doctor
And for being o.k. with my hopes to be a writer.

And for cementing together a family
So it would stand the worst kinds
Of shocks and blows and for laying down
A good strong foundation to build a life on.
I owe you for always, always saying "I love you" before
I left the house or went to sleep;
That may be the thread that has kept us all together.

I owe you for being Mimi to my kids,
For trying your darndest to be fair
In the giving of gifts and putting your aches and pains
On the backburner in order to trek to Colorado to see 'em.

I owe you for making sure I had the things a boy
Needed in the early 80s; things like Levi 501s and leather jackets
And stereo systems and weight benches
And monogrammed sweaters and H.H. Brown boots
And a column-shift Chevy pickup.

And one thing, Mom, I'll never forget
When I saw you crying one night and suddenly
Realized that in addition to being a Mom, you
Were a human being and that
Sometimes things just got too big even for you and it
Had to spill out in the corners of your eyes.

These are just a few of the things
For which payment is long overdue.
Mom, you worked very, very cheap
And managed by simply doing without
A whole lotta things that you needed yourself.

My I.O.U.'s add up to more
Than I could ever hope to repay
But you know the nicest thing about it all
Is that I know you'd mark
The entire bill paid in full
For just one kiss and a visit every once in a while to Arkansas and
Maybe a haircut
And four little words:

Mom, I love you

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