Ode to Mom

My Mom at around my age.

Today is my beautiful Mom’s 63rd Birthday. (Sorry Mom!)

I look up to a lot of people in my life.  I am very blessed to have a lot of positive influences around me, a lot of family and friends who are truly fantastic people.  Those who are still with us, and those who have passed on.

Of all those people, there is no one that comes close to this woman.  I have never met anyone so willing to give, give, give.

Growing up, my parents owned a business.  I remember being young and looking back, I know that they were financially strapped.  Obviously as a child, I never knew about any of this, as this is not the type of thing you typically burden your child with if you can help it.  As time went on, I got older, the business went through some really prosperous years, and our lifestyle reflected that.  One thing I can say about both of my parents is that when they had it – they gave.  They were always so generous with people and not in such a way that made you feel uncomfortable, they were just generous.  If you saw something you liked, don’t mention it in front of them, or within a very short amount of time, you would find it within your possession.

Christmas growing up was really quite the thing in my house.  Everyone was spoiled rotten.  We would all sit around with mountains of gifts – all completely thought out and hunted down and purchased by Mom.  Nothing gave her more pleasure to sit and watch her family open the gifts that she had so obviously thought about and stressed over, wanting to make Christmas perfect for everyone.  Especially me.  I’m her only child and I used to sit there forever, opening gift after gift.  Totally spoiled.

So there is a reason for telling you all this.  About 6 years ago, when the economy started to get really bad, things were pretty tough at work.  A very high stress situation all around, and things were not good.  Luckily, someone came in and bought the business, meaning that everyone that was working could still keep their jobs.  After this, obviously my parents didn’t have the steady working income coming in anymore.  There are investments, and pensions, but my Mom was definitely not able to be as flush as she once was.  We even decided for a few years running to forget gifts at Christmas altogether, just to concentrate on the dinner, the holiday, and being together.

So here’s the thing, and this is a real tribute to her:  I thought this was a great idea.  Me, who had basically been spoiled since birth not only at Christmas, but all year long, didn’t give a rat’s behind about whether or not I opened a single gift at Christmas.  As long as I had my family around me, and everyone was healthy, and we had a tree, and lots of food, and each other, I was good.  So obviously, throughout all the gift giving, the true message of Christmas got through, the true meaning of the season was more important than all that commercial stuff.  That I thank her for more than anything, and hope to be able to pass on to my son.

Nicholas with Grandma at Christmas.

She still gives like crazy.  If I need something, help with anything, she is the first person I call.  She is an amazing Grandmother and our primary caregiver for Nicholas.  If I need to paint a room, she is there with her ladder and brushes.  If I need decorating advice, she is the one.  If I need help organizing or cleaning anything, she is my go-to girl.  She is the most clean and organized person I know, bar none. Most importantly, if I need a friend, advice, or just someone to vent to, tell my dreams to and my fears, she is always there, no questions, no judgments, just 100% love and support.  You can’t ask for much more than that.  But if you did, she’d find a way to give it.

I’m not the only one that has benefited from her giving.  I can think of several people who would line up to say that she has helped them in one way or another.  Moving, tearing down or putting up wallpaper, painting a room, or several rooms.  Caring for sick family members during tough times, from making me chicken noodle soup when I’ve got a cold to really caring for someone who is palliative.  Sending a card or present at just the right time, saying just the right thing when you need it most.  She really has a gift for knowing what to do to make a difficult time a little easier.  When she loves you, she loves you.  She loves fully, and without restrictions.  And if she loves you, she will do anything for you.  Heck, if she LIKES you she’ll go above and beyond.  That’s just the person she is.

So today, as I do every day, I thank God for my Mom.  I know I’m not alone in thinking that she is truly an amazing person, and I am so lucky to have her.  I can only hope that someday people look at me with half the respect they feel for her.  It’s a lot to live up to, but I know she’s there, steering me gently in the right direction.

I love you Mom, and Happy Birthday! – here’s to another 60 years!  Okay, I know that makes you 123 years old.  That’s not too much to ask for, is it?