Long ago, she chose to measure her success by her family. I'm not talking about anything stage-momish either. She has never had a career outside the home. She is a keeper of the home and the souls entrusted to her. As we grew up and moved away, she was forced to 'retire' from her daily duties. While I know she needed breaks like every parent, she did not relish that permanent change.
Fortunately, God has blessed each of us three kids with three of our own. Seeing my parents as grandparents has given me a new perspective on their inner children. I have been very blessed by that and, as grandparents, they have given us some of their greatest gifts.
When I was six months pregnant with my second child, I was put on complete bed rest. I was allowed fifteen minutes of standing per day. That wasn't enough to fix meals and shower much less take care of my sweet little 17-month-old. My mom drove an hour-and-a-half each morning to pick up Sam and drove back to her house. Almost every afternoon, she brought him back so that we could still feel like a family.
That continued for three months. I cannot imagine the exhaustion (or the gas cost) but she did it without complaining. Carrying that burden as well as a mother's concern for her daughter's unborn child is such an example of unconditional love and is truly a debt that cannot be repaid.
• • • Other observations on Mom • • •
My mom is a perfect blend of her parents. Warm, nurturing and a little mischievous like my Grommie but a quick-witted, merciless teaser like Granddaddy.
She doesn't accept societal norms and isn't afraid to be different. As feminism was hitting its stride during my childhood, she would roll her eyes at others' attempts to climb corporate ladders and go to the kitchen to make Kool-Aid and cookies for all of the neighborhood kids.
She let us stay home from school (occasionally) for no reason other than "My calendar says there's no school today". She would actually tell the school secretary, "our bus isn't running today".
Fearless and independent, she has bungee jumped, been skydiving and, in the past decade, acquired a couple of tattoos.
I have to leave you, though, with one of my favorite Mom stories ever....
Last July, she, my sister Libby and some of the grandkids were in the car for a day trip. My sister, trying to be accommodating in adjusting the air conditioning, asked, "Mom, are you cold?"
My mom, in all sincerity, replied, "Well, I don't know. I could be cold," as if it were a subjective question. The laughter Libby fell into rendered her a completely unfit driver.
Now, all three of us women can be accommodating to the point you'd want to beat us over the head to get a decision out of us but my sister and I thought this was just the ultimate in trying to please someone else.
Now, whenever we reach an impasse over a decision, Libby and I are likely to say, "But, Mom, are you cold???"
Yes, my friends, that's the lousy thanks she gets for years of sacrifice and an excellent raising. So, maybe Mom's best birthday present is witnessing the fact that we each have kids just like us.
Happy birthday, Mom! I love you!