When my mom was my age, she had a kid. That kid, you see, was me. Is me, actually. Thinking about this boggles my mind, really. I can’t imagine anyone entrusting me with a baby, let alone having one myself. Sometimes I wonder if there is some secret book you read to become a mom because, if I’m honest, it seems like the hardest damn job in the whole world. My mom would agree, but I’m also sure she’d say it’s the most rewarding one, too.
My mom’s just like that.
My mom is the kind of mom that got up everyday at 5:55 a.m. to get ready before us, so she could make us oatmeal or help us finish last-minute projects. She’s the kind of mom who attended every single sporting event we were in (and still does). She’s the kind of mom who flew to Spain to be with her desperately homesick daughter. She’s the kind of mom who makes sure the fridge is stocked with all her daughter’s favorites when she comes home. She’s the kind of mom who only once took a sick day for herself, but often took sick days for her ill children. She’s the one who has been to O’Hare airport and said goodbye too many times to count.
But my mom is more than just a mom. She’s a great woman, too.
This woman was born 40-some years ago in a small town called Crawfordsville. Her best friend growing up was her twin sister Diane, with whom she caused mild scandals, including one incident of the word fart written on a neighbor’s driveway. She once washed her sister Beth’s car for a pack of gum (she refused to do it for just one stick). She started dating a scoundrel named Randy when she was just fourteen, still in middle school. She has had the same job for over twenty years and, like I said, has almost never called in sick on her own account. She taught my brother to tie his shoes in a car in the state of Connecticut. She likes chocolate chip cookies more than most any other dessert and can’t stay away from a pan of brownies. (It’s no coincidence that her sister has the nickname “Diane Full of Brownies.”) Every year, an elderly patient gives her Snickers Bars in a brown paper bag with the nickname “Cupcake” written in marker on it. She is fiendishly devoted to watering her flowers in the summer. Her tablecloth is always seasonal. She may have eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches more times than just about anyone else on the planet, but who’s counting? She gives the world’s greatest hugs (a tie with a certain boy named Mario). She doesn’t speak Spanish, but can generally tell when I’m talking about her, due to her sensors picking up on the word, “Madre.” Her favorite medicines are ibuprofen and tough love. (“Take an ibuprofen and tough it out!”)
I can’t sum up my mother in a pithy sentence. I can’t express in words who she is to me or to the many other people she blesses on a daily basis. What I can say is this: I am the most blessed daughter in the world to have been born to a mom like her.
Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.
P.S. See you on Thursday!