Ode to My Mama
Here are some things you need to know about my mom:
She took my sister and me to the library every week of our childhood. Seriously. What the United States Postal Service is for your mail? That's my mom and literacy. Girlfriend isn't playing around.
Every holiday, without fail, was made special by Mom. Yes, every one of them. We even had visits from The Great Pumpkin.
The woman can sing. I'm not talking about your run of the mill karaoke style jams. When mama sings, people listen. Partially, it's because they have no choice -- I mean, when a middle-aged woman is throwing down Joan Jett opera-style, you can't help but notice. As a teenager, this was the bain of my existence. But on those days when I'm feeling bummed and have a ton of housework to do? Easy fix. Slip on some earbuds, turn on the iPod, and belt out some tunes. I'll never be asked to sing at weddings, as she once was, but I've got some pipes! I'm pretty sure I got those from her.
If you need a prayer warrior, call my mom. She has a direct line. She'll hook you up.
Growing up, my mom's goofy childlike antics were soo embarrassing. After all, I was 15 going on 50. I never quite knew how to be a kid. Apparently I age emotionally in reverse, because now? If you peek in my window around dinnertime, you'll see what I was growing up with. Every once in a while I pause, a little mortified -- I've become my mom! -- and then quickly go back to the dancing, singing, giggling antics of my own. I learned from the best. May as well use it.
She sends cards. Like, way more than the normal card-giving status quo. You could open up your mailbox one day and have a card for Groundhog's Day and a "Just Because I Love You" card waiting there for you at the same time. Who does this?? My mom, that's who. It's basically impossible to be around my mom and not feel unconditionally loved.
If you're dying for a good home-cooked meal, don't go to her. Mom, you know this is true, so don't even pretend to be offended! She will, however, stock her pantry with every one of your favorite ready made foods, drive 30 miles to find the perfect meal, and send you an insane amount of Christmas goodies for you to enjoy over the holidays. Oh, and if you're having a party? Yes, invite my mom. She makes THE best seven layer dip, chocolate eclair cake, and weird-yet-delicious blueberry cream cheese glob of dessertesque food you will ever taste. So, lesson here? My mom is more of a party girl than a wine and dine sort of chick. Go figure.
Oh, and you should know this. She is an amazingly talented writer. When I was a senior in high school, she took a writing class and shared her writing with me. It may have been one of the first times I realized we had some pretty important things in common.
There are many, many more things I could tell you about my mom. How she caught me hiding two baby birds when I was eight and called the Vet to help me put them back in their nest. Her unceasing praise and encouragement for every single thing I've ever told her I wanted to do. The countless surgeries and therapy sessions she shuttled me back and forth from when I was a kid. How she held my hand when I was in labor with my first son. How she's held my hand limitless times through the years when I have stumbled, fallen, and picked myself back up again.
My mom always tells me that I am all the things she always wanted to be. Strong. Independent. Brave. A go-getter! In fact, she told me all these things again just last week.
Here's the thing I need to tell my mom about herself: I am all those things because of who she is.
So thanks, Mom. A million words do not begin to describe the gifts you have given me, the lessons I have learned, the love I have gained.
Happy Birthday. Don't forget to make your wish when you blow out the candles tonight.