Mom. March 16, 2013.

Mother's Day. Phnom Penh. 2013.

I remember at the (especially) mouthy age of seven on Mother’s Day asking my mom why there wasn’t a Children’s Day. She responded with a smart yet gentle “every day is Children’s Day, Anna”.

When celebrating Mother’s Day this past Sunday, I thought back on that moment and wanted to make her day as special as it could possibly be. We hadn’t spent the last Mother’s Day together as I was in the states and it was the first time either of us would be in Cambodia for it.

Ritchie and I joined her at her church that morning (even me with a riot of a hangover and a slightly injured foot from a parked moto squish) and had a lovely brunch at The Shop (smoked salmon & scrambled eggs, mushroom soup, and a passion fruit and muesli crepe!)

Mom and I then moved onto Bodia Spa, where we each experienced a different treatment (firming facial for her, oil massage for me) and left glowing, relaxed, and smelling fantastic. A few hours later, we reconnected at Tell along with Allison and Duncan for gooey, sharp fondue, frothy beers, rich French Onion Soup, and a gigantic platter of pork knuckle, bacon, sausage, and sauerkraut; German being her favorite fare. Topped off with Caramel Apple Martinis and Mudslides at The Exchange for dessert, I felt that the day couldn’t have been lovelier.

All of the activities we were able to take part in and the food and drink we enjoyed can’t cover the gratitude that I feel towards her, particularly during this time in my life. So four days after the initial Mother’s Day fete, I think since pretty much every other day of the year is children’s day (does it ever really change?) I can continue on with the celebration. Let’s make every day a Mother’s Day; we owe them so much, make it known. For those who are missing their mothers because of the distance in relationship or space or by death itself, I feel for you and hope that any loss you may feel is filled.

I’d like to thank my mom for so many things; this list barely hits the tip of the iceberg.


Sheila, Mother:

Thank you for raising me to have a thick skin, but not so thick as to forget the importance of feeling good, feeling loved, and feeling happy.

Thank you for instilling the moral code that you have in me so early, as much as I wanted to fight it during my rebellious days.

Thank you for knowing the importance of laughter and that yes, you can poke fun at people, but in the end the funniest person to laugh at is yourself.

Thank you for showing me that passion towards what is right is important, but that mercy and grace can be just as moving.

Thank you for packing me lunches of lentils and wild rice and homemade chili and baked calzones rather than prepackaged Lunchables or cafeteria food, as much as I complained.

Thank you for providing a model of a rich and fulfilling marriage to hold my standards to.

Thank you for sticking to those standards and for being an example of the perfect relationship, even though I know it was riddled with flaws.

Thank you for sharing those flaws to me, it makes knowing that a relationship like yours and dad’s is actually a real thing and that I can have just that.

Thank you for being strict with me; I may have gone through trouble and hardships still, but I would still be going through the same ones if you hadn’t ruled with an iron fist.

Thank you for making me work; I understand the importance of providing for myself because of it.

Thank you for letting me move home without shame as a prodigal daughter after the mistake of moving to Huntington Beach.

Thank you for delighting in my humor, when sometimes I feel no one else does.

Thank you for forgiving me for the stress I put on you in my adolescence.

Thank you for letting Hilary buy us Lile and Lulu when we moved to Salem.

Thank you for understanding the need to move away from the traditional model of schooling and experience learning and education through my own route.

Thank you for introducing me to some of the most influential people in my life.

Thank you for giving me the opportunities to travel, even as uninterested as I was for years.

Thank you for moving to Cambodia, I wouldn’t be here without you.

Thank you for letting me rant about the things and people that irritate me so much and thank you for not adding your own negative commentary, you provide a Switzerland.

Thank you for showing me the importance of being non judgmental.

Thank you for carrying me to the car before road trips and thank you for the McDonalds breakfast we were treated to on these special occasions.

Thank you for letting me think I knew everything at four years old.

Thank you for adopting me.

Thank you for adopting Rachel; I can’t even imagine the worse nightmare I would be today if I didn’t have a little sister.

Thank you for dealing with our screaming matches, because of them I never act that way this day to anyone, no matter how infuriating they can be.

Thank you for helping me learn my own personal value; because of this I don’t settle for mediocre.

Thank you for keeping me tender about the important things, one day I know they will be vital when I have my own children.

Thank you for giving me the side of the sleeping car with the lamp on our train trip to Chiang Mai when I was a toddler.

Thank you for letting me yell at you when Dad was dying in the hospital; I know it wasn’t your fault and I know it hurt you and I am sorry, but thank you for not holding that against me.

Thank you for giving me that brand new My Little Pony when that girl stole that other one from me during playtime.

Thank you for showing me how necessary time alone is.

Thank you for (sometimes) pretending not to know I was drunk when I would come home from parties in high school.

Thank you for understanding my anger even when I sometimes don’t.

Thank you for being a sounding board to my friends.

Thank you for showing me how to deal with difficult work situations and people.

Thank you for showing me that age truly doesn’t matter, in so many senses.

Thank you for never making physical beauty an important factor for happiness, but always making me feel beautiful regardless.

Thank you for putting up with ex-boyfriends, and even more, caring for some of them.

Thank you for supporting me in any job I find myself in.

Thank you for letting me sleep in yours and dad’s room when I was scared from watching The Grudge.

Thank you for sitting up with me when I couldn’t sleep in my own room after watching The Hills Have Eyes.

Thank you for accepting that I don’t like to sew and probably never will.

Thank you for burying all my pet hamsters.

Thank you for pushing me to do more, always.

Thank you for being one of my best friends.

Thank you for reminding me that there is so much more to come.

Thank you for holding me to a higher standard, even without you saying it I know you see bigger things in my future than I ever did.



  1. Oh, Anna! I so love reading your blog posts. All moms should be so lucky to have such a lovely daughter as you. Hugs to you and your Mom!

  2. Anna dear, how sweet our story has become, and grows sweeter each day. Thank you for taking the time to express the overflow of your heart. How precious you and your thoughts are to me! Mama

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