Today is my Mom’s birthday.
Mom and I go way back. As her firstborn, I got to break her in to the whole motherhood thing. This arrangement worked out pretty well for me. (I’m just a little bit spoiled.) For her, I may have raised her blood pressure a bit but overall I think what I put her through may have made raising three additional kids a piece of cake.
Mom was always really good at taking care of me when I was not feeling well. She’d set me up on the sofa with pillows and blankets, make sure I had something to drink and that I took my medicine on time. If I was able to eat, she’d make me soup or spaghetti (my favorite), cut into tiny pieces so I wouldn’t have to chew much. She’d clean up my barf and comfort me as I cried. She’d say things like, “I wish I could take the pain away from you. I wish I could have the surgery instead of you.” As a child I couldn’t understand why she’d want such a thing, but if it had really been an option, I would have taken her up on it. It wasn’t until I was an adult and I got to be the one wringing my hands in the waiting room that I understood how she felt.
Of course, I have happier memories of my early life with Mom. She shared her love of reading with me, which is a gift that will last a lifetime. She also shared her passion for the outdoors – the smell of the woods in autumn, the sight of a hawk in a tree, and a heart-swelling appreciation for the ever-changing beauty of an expanse of sky. She was always a creative thinker and came up with so many fun things for us to do. We had a pebble hunt, like Pooh and Piglet. I was encouraged to write my own stories and illustrate them. When I wanted to learn to play the piano, she drove me to lessons and somehow did not lose her mind listening to hundreds of faltering renditions of ‘Fur Elise’ and ‘Hey Jude’.
Mom’s lifelong pursuit of knowledge, of thinking for herself and reinventing herself when necessary, has been the most inspirational to me. She is most definitely a self-made woman and I continue to learn from her. Her life has had many ups and downs and she has worked her way through many difficult situations. When I look back to where we were even just 5 years ago I am amazed at how much has changed. Looking back 15 or 20 years is even more astounding.
So thank you, Mom, for all you’ve done for me and our family, and above all for being a kind person whom I am proud to call my mother.