I have this incredible mom. First of all, she was all of 19 when she married my dad, and 23 when she had me. I cannot even fathom having done that at that age. When I was 19 the men I knew were completely different than either of the men I chose to marry later in my life. I am a very different person than I was then. I think it is an amazing testament to both of them, but especially to my mother that 50 years later they are still married. But that is a post for another time. Check back for that post in November.
Being a first time mom in my 40s was terrifying enough. I don’t know how anyone does it when they are young and stupid. Maybe that is the key. You don’t know any better, so you plow through and congratulate yourself when everyone is still alive and mostly healthy on the other side. My mother did better than plow through it though. She was for a long time the quintessential stay at home mom. She cooked, cleaned, played with us, educated us and made us feel better when we were sick.
But beyond just doing the basics, mom was a role model. I credit/curse my mother for the problem solving attitude with which I approach life. I cannot be presented with a conundrum without immediately beginning to wonder how it could be resolved. It takes a conscious act of will for me NOT to offer a solution to something when I realize that sometimes a person just wants to vent. Or it is not my fight to fight. But I love that when presented with a problem, my first instinct it to figure it out myself, not to bug someone else. My life is full of people who cannot find their way out of a wet paperbag, and it makes me wonder how they manage to stay alive much less live a productive life. So thank you mom for giving me solid life skills.
I have fun memories from childhood of my mom finding creative things to do with us. There was this homemade playdough that was great, cookies that we made into shapes of animals and iced with pink icing one Christmas that we may have hung on the tree. That part of my memory is fuzzy, but I think we did. We were always going on adventure rides. My mom hates taking the same route to and from home to anywhere, so often we would just take a turn and drive a different route and find new things to see.
We would take walks in the woods and she always managed to point out something new or interesting, like mushrooms that were red, or fiddle heads, or Indian Pipes. It is something that I do now. Just this weekend Cooper and I went on an earthworm hunt in the yard because it had rained heavily on Saturday. He could not have been happier.
I have mentioned in previous posts that I LOVE reference books, that we would often refer to them in my house because of a discussion that we had at the dinner table. I may use Google now more than a book, but I still find great joy in looking something up and learning something new about my world. That is totally due to my mother and her love of learning.
In the end, my mother has been both a great example of how I wanted to live my life, but also the example I used to choose a different path. Not because I think my mother did anything incorrectly, but I could see through the choices and sometimes the struggles she faced that I had options and could make different choices. So while at times we have followed different paths, I give much credit to my mother for the fact that I not only knew I had options, but that I felt confident enough in myself and in who I was to make the choices that were right for me.
She is smart, funny, generous, loving, kind and one of the strongest people I have ever known. Thank you mom for everything you have done, and continue to do for me, and for my family. I love you. Happy Birthday Dee!