Today is my Mother's birthday. Unfortunately I am 2,101 miles away from her today, so I couldn't be with her. Here are 44 (she's not shy about her age) reasons why I am so grateful that she is mine.
1. She's always cold. I am also always cold, so I can count on her to lobby for the thermostat with me. I can also always count on her to have a blanket/sweater.
2. She is kind. Everyone that knows her knows that she is an unbelievably kind woman. This sometimes means that people take advantage of her, which makes me sad, but proud that I have the kind of mother that other people know they can rely on.
3. She's generous with her love. I've had many friends consider her their second mother, and she took in my brother's best friend when he had no where else to go. Her best friend's children also love her deeply and know that she is madly in love with them, too. She chooses to love, even when she doesn't have to. Robert Brault once said that "there is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child--and an instinct to make any child who needs love, her own." My mother is the epitome of this woman.
4. She makes me chocolate chip waffles, even though she doesn't like them.
5. She shares my love of happy endings and sappy love stories. It shows me that she is ever hopeful and wants to others to share the happiness that she's found.
6. 23 years after meeting him, she is still madly in love with my father, and has managed to keep him in love with her as well. This is a testament to the both of them and how wonderful they both are, but also shows her immense loyalty.
7. She is fiercely loyal. Often referring to herself as the "Momma Bear," she will fight tooth and nail against any and all things or people who threaten those she loves--even when we're hurting ourselves--and will do all in her power to restore us to health and happiness.
8. She is funny, and silly, and willing to do things like jump in bouncy castles with me.
9. She pushes me to do things that are scary, because she knows that I need it. It was her refusing to carry me anymore that made me learn to walk, her refusing to drive me anymore that made me learn to drive, her wrestling me into the cart that made me learn to love roller coasters, and her believing in me to bring me to this place.
10. She does not gossip. Although she is usually surrounded by people who bring her gossip and wish that she would engage with them, she does not disparage others, nor does she share secrets that are not hers.
11. She has taught me the importance of the little things that show support. Things like making a favorite treat or always going to sporting events/concerts/plays/graduations/parties/whatevers, holding hands, a little note, a "just because I love you" present--she is a master of these small but oh-so-significant gestures of love.
12. Like me, she hates veggies.
13. She has an inability to extricate herself from a situation. It is impossible for us to leave anywhere without at least 3 people stopping us to talk to her. It's annoying, but it shows how well-loved she is.
14. She loves a good bargain, and has taught me the value of a sale.
15. She's really smart and loves smart-people humor.
16. One drink makes her tipsy. This was good for laughs on our vacation to Mexico.
17. She's a great hugger, and even though I am now a grown woman, she always pats my back as if she's burping me when she hugs me.
18. When I was a baby, I didn't respond to lullabies, so she wrote me my own. It still relaxes me when I'm having a hard night.
19. She likes to plan, and make lists, and has taught me to always be prepared.
20. She knows what people are capable of and insists on excellence.
21. She will stay up late to whether it was to wait for me to come home from hell week, just so she can make me a warm dinner, or because I needed to talk, or because Brother needs someone around while he does his homework, or because we need something made or mended.
22. She will then rise early the next morning to help us get ready, or to give us a ride, or just spend a few minutes with us.
23. She ages gracefully. While she does not dress like an old woman, she doesn't try to cling desperately to her 20s. She is stylish, but appropriately so.
24. She shares her food and her drinks with us, and everything tastes better with mom-spit on it.
25. When I was dating a boy who had a horrible mother who was cruel to me and made things difficult, she was graceful and did all within her power to make it as easy as possible for me. She changed her holiday plans to accommodate me, because she didn't want to make the fight any worse and knew that ultimatums are not the way to love your children or the people they love.
26. She loves to read and gave me a love of books.
27. She has taught me the importance of faith, and reminds me that even when I am angry with God, there is a piece of me that will always know Him and will always lead me back.
28. She is possibly the most empathetic person I know and cannot abide the hurt of others, even those who deserve hurting. She raised Brother and I to be the ones that see the hurting and to include and defend them, and to never intentionally add to the hurt, but to do our best to heal it.
29. She has taught us to prioritize the important things in life, like our family and our friends, because when we look back, those will be the things we wish we had spent more of our time, talent, and treasure on.
30. She is a servant. She sees what needs doing, and she does it. She cares for far more people than I think I ever could.
31. She is steadfast. No one has ever accused her of wrongdoing, and no one would believe it if they had.
32. She taught me to value myself, to see that I am lovely and worthy of love, smart and funny and kind, because she taught me to be those things, and to see them in others.
33. She always points out the silver lining in my grey cloud of complaints.
34. Thomas Edison once said that his mother was "so true and so sure of [him], [he] felt that [he] had someone to live for--someone [he] must not disappoint." My mother has such a belief in me that I have no choice but to do well, because I must honor that faith. She makes me better.
35. She never gave us all that we wanted. Although we were helped, she never spoiled us. She gave us an appreciation for what we had and what we worked for.
36. My mother bruises like a peach. This did not stop her from rocking Brother while he periodically leaned forward and then whipped his head back into her sternum with all of his power, because he loved being rocked.
37. She is always on the other side of the phone when I need her, whether it's for a recipe, or instructions on removing a stain, or someone to complain to, or someone to listen to what I'm excited about, she is always there.
38. Although I have made her spitting mad, and disrespected her, and taken her for granted, I have never for a moment doubted her love for me.
39. Her ability to forgive is formidable. She taught me that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting it to make the other person sick. She also taught me that once forgiven, one does not have to put oneself in the same position again.
40. My mother is the kind of woman who brings peace wherever she goes. I know this because I am a terribly anxious person, but being around her is like being able to breathe again after being underwater for a while--it's like all is right again, or will be soon enough.
41. She is a master at "Mothering"--taking care of others, and it is a skill set and a character trait that she has passed on to me. It's probably my favorite thing about her.
42. She brought me into this world, and as she always says, she can take me out--meaning she will not tolerate any of my crap. It means I give less crap.
43. Alice Walker said "Yes, mother, I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me." My mom taught me that everyone has flaws, and that it's ok to not be perfect all of the time. Sometimes our "flaws" are the most beautiful things about us.
44. She is an excellent mother, and so many people have told me that they wish she was theirs. I am so glad that she is mine.
Mommy, I miss you, but I hope you had a great birthday. I love you so much.