Thursday, July 13, 2006

For Mom- Happy Birthday

When I was younger, my mother was the center of my world. I remember her spending hours with me patiently watching me play in the sandbox, pushing my swing and playing my little ponies with me. She was always full of joy, and full of happiness. One day after second grade, I remember her greeting me at the front doors of the school with a “Hi pumpkin!” As I got older, she was still always there.

She would wait at home with freshly baked cookies or breads, ready to listen to our days. She always had fun activities planned. She taught us to paint, draw and express our creativity through every way possible. Afternoons and evenings were noisy. They were filled with giggling, movies in the background, and dancing in the living room using spoons as microphones. In the summer, she took us to the pool and to parks. She overcame her embarrassment of her weight to swim in the pool with us, laughing when we splashed her and made her mascara run.

In middle school, she would be waiting at the driveway suspiciously staring at the bus, daring the bullies to torment me in front of her. If I ran off the bus crying because Emily Edwards had shoved chips and coke in my hair again, she was always there with a hug.

Her loyalty never wavered, even when I reached high school. Full of hormones, confusion, and an emotional wreck, I was perpetually confused and had a never ending barrage of issues. My mother would patiently listen to me and advise me, even when my actions hurt her feelings. She always encouraged me, and was supportive in everything I ever wanted. When others would discourage me or make me feel worthless, she was always there to pick me up emotionally.

When I went to college, it was one of the hardest things I had ever done. I had never been away from my parents for more than a week, and never lived outside the same house. My mom helped me move into my dorm, climbing five flights of stairs over and over in the Texas heat without complaint. She cried when she left, and I cried for two more days after that. Those first few weeks of college felt as though I was being ripped from her life, and I felt like I had abandoned her. After all her loyalty, I felt I had let her down. When I told her that, she said something I’ve never forgotten.

“I’m so proud of you,” she said, her voice breaking. “You went out on your own, to a school where you didn’t know anyone, to get an education. You’re braver than I’ve ever been. I admire you for that.”

When I got married, my mother planned the entire thing with help from my sister. She endured my rebellious attitude and gave me a perfect wedding. I will always remember the smile on her face when she first saw me in my wedding dress, and how it took her breath away.

Now it’s her birthday, and she’s taken care of us for another year. My mom often regretted that she felt like she never had accomplished anything, that she never had done anything spectacular. She didn’t win a bunch of clients; she didn’t find the cure for the common cold.

What she did was so much better. She loved us, and she taught us how to love. She made anyone who’s ever been touched by her feel loved, nurtured and cared for. She never judges and is loyal to a fault. And for that, I thank you, Mom. Thank you for making me feel loved, and for loving me. You taught me patience, kindness, loyalty and compassion. You’ve always stood by my dreams, just like you stood by me. Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.