I have to say that I believe in love at first sight, mostly because I am CERTAIN I’ve experienced it. I just get the feeling that, the moment I was born, and my “being born” junk was wiped from my eyes, I saw the love of my life. She was only about 3 feet taller than I was (and I was just born, moments before), but her platinum blonde hair acted as a halo for the angel that is my mother. And though it’s been almost 25 years since we met, I still know that my love for her will never fade. In fact, it just gets stronger, every day.
I’m “that girl” with my mom. I text her every morning and I feel lost if I don’t talk to her on the phone at least once a day. I ask ridiculous questions like “What are you doing? Who are you with? What are you thinking about who you’re with, and where are you all going for dinner?” If I could live with my mother for the rest of my life, I think I’d be happy as a clam, and I’d force her to eat salads and come to Zumba with me and get into all sorts of hijinx. It would basically be like Gilmore Girls, only without the inn and lots more social work. Oh, and it’d be a lot tougher to share clothes, considering our 8-9 inch height difference.
My mother has shaped me maybe more than any other single human being on the planet. She’s been a teacher, a friend, a caregiver, a healer, a snuggle-buddy, a kindred spirit, and my number one role model. I remember growing up feeling shy and, more often than not, uncomfortable in my own skin. I was a gangly bookworm, the tiniest Amazon nerd in Montessori School, and I tended to slouch. Mom taught me to stand up straight (though, for her, that really only meant standing about 5’4″ tall) and she taught me to walk into every room like I owned the place. Probably because every time she walked into a room, a store, a bar, or down the street, all eyes were on her. She demands attention just by her existence. I dreamt of being just like her.
Mother of five, wife to one, and friend to all, she’s more generous than I could even attempt to be. Having recently received her MSW after deciding a few years ago to return to school, she’s gone out of her way to speak for those without a voice, to maintain her ethics in an oft-corrupt system, and to provide aid and assistance whenever possible with a focus on geriatrics. In the face of hopelessness, my mother is like a beacon of joy. I’d list all that she’s done for her clients, but I couldn’t even get the tip of the iceberg before a hand cramp.
She’s hilarious. One of the middle children in a family of 8 kids, she always manages to make everyone in the enormous resulting family laugh and smile, maybe me most of all.
Being the littlest one in my family (though 5 of the 6 are her children), she often gets the brunt of the teasing. But she puts up with our jokes, rolling her eyes. Since we love her, we pile on top of her any chance we have, so she doesn’t forget for a moment that she’s our best girl.
She’s so proud of us, but I think she doesn’t realize just how proud we are of her!
When she went back to school, she worked harder than I’ve ever seen a student work (that includes friends who are in PhD programs and med school). Every assignment was life or death, and I don’t think she ever got below an A. Her laser-like focus on something as seemingly trivial as a reference list led to many long nights, but the payoff was sweet when she obtained her degree and the opportunity to follow her dream.
I still want to be just like her. She’s kind of my idol and if I can lead a life half as successful as hers, it will be a life well-lived.
Here’s to my best friend, my favorite beach girl…
My partner in crime, even if the crime’s just making some penis-shaped cookies for Caitlin’s bachelorette party.
And, no matter what happens and where life takes me, she’s the woman I wanna be like when I grow up.
Happy birthday, Mommy! Can’t wait until we’re together again to celebrate!