Today is my mother’s birthday. And it’s one of those years where I don’t have a physical gift to give her. Yes, there will be a homemade card, a lunch with Margherita Pizza, and a yellow cake with chocolate icing. I know she will enjoy it because it’s what she wants. I want to give her so much more.
My mom is a huge influence in my life. At this point in her life, she seems to be the most confident I have ever known her to be. And not in the “I have no idea what I’m doing, so I’ll just act confident and hope people believe me” kinda way. Anyone who is a parent knows that kind of “confidence.” She’s more self-assured and assertive – ask my Dad. She is and always has been, incredibly real. Now they call it authentic.
My mom never pretends to be something she is not. She’s never been over-the-top or one to back down when she believes in something. Especially when that something is me. Alright, or one of my siblings. She has always seen things in each of us that we couldn’t see in ourselves. She would try and show us those traits that made us special. We didn’t always believe her. But with years to look back on, she was right. This is her chance to say “I told you so.”
No matter what direction I took, she has always supported me. Even when she knew that my choice was a bad one. She would attempt to get me back on track and, on occasion, when that didn’t work she would tell me that she couldn’t support whatever it was. At the time, I might accuse her of turning her back on me. But that was never true. Instead, she didn’t sleep at night, couldn’t eat, prayed continuously, and waited for me to come home. Luckily, I always made it home.
I look to her for advice, support, and unconditional love. Because she is as close as I will ever get to unconditional love without getting a puppy. I have ignored her, yelled at her, tried to prove I didn’t care about her, accused her of trying to run/ruin/control my life. And that was just the teen years. She stood by me anyway. She still saw the good in me despite the not so good. I once asked her why she never kicked me out of the house. Her answer? “One day you’ll understand.”
She’s also a lot of fun. High school friends will remember parties at our house where the furniture got pushed against walls and my parents taught them how to dance. Not only did she try and teach the boys how to lead but, she also taught the girls how to lead, just in case. She’s the type of person you want to sit next to at a party because she’s incredibly observant. My dad is the boisterous one. Mom is the witty one.
My mom and I share a love of going to the movies, reading, and puzzles. She’s got more talent than she will admit to. She can draw and write. And I have to remind her of both, regularly. I can spend an entire day with her just talking over tea, sitting quietly in a room reading, dreaming over catalogs, anything really. At the end of that kind of day, I will feel calm, centered, and loved. Because she is all of those things.
She’s the best of all of us.
Happy Birthday, Mom.