When I was a kid, there was a movie that played pretty regularly on the Disney channel. It was about a couple of kids who decided their Mom was a drag. Naturally, they headed over to the magical mommy farmer’s market to swap her out. Unfortunately for those brats, the other moms turned out to be a little too zany and (spoiler alert) they inevitably choose their original Mom. I couldn’t help playing that game, just a teeny-tiny-bit, whenever I watched the movie; but I could never quite dream up anyone better than my amazing Mama.
Today is her birthday. We’ve never been a “present family” – don’t get me wrong, my parents buy me lots of neato things, but I’m not allowed to reciprocate. I vividly remember trying: it was Christmas, I got in trouble. I couldn’t possibly explain how much I love my mother, but as a present, I’d like to try.
My mom is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known. Her natural kindness shines out of every classically beautiful feature. We have, in absolute seriousness, been mistaken for sisters. My mom is also brilliant, in the functional, common-sense way too. She’ll never understand why I don’t “get” long-division but she taught me how to write. And procrastinate effectively (there’s lots of laughter and tears at 3 AM).
She gave me a nearly perfect head of hair and just enough of her stunning bone structure to complement the friendly, warm roundness of my father’s face. She chose my dad. In developing my character and work ethic, she compiled an epic childhood chore list that I hated and rarely completed, but that ended up allowing me to, literally, make my living. It’s also given me lifelong bragging rights (when I was yoooour aaaaage I had to scrub toilets AND wash walls with vinegar water!) She trained me to keep my personal finances impeccably and gave me a pavlovian “NO!” response to the words “credit card”.
My mom prays for me every day, I can feel it. Her insights into every conversation are startlingly insightful. She naturally gravitates towards the person in the room that is most likely to be left out and opens them up with gentle warmth: if I ever learn how to listen properly it will be from my mother. She takes such pleasure in being in the presence of fun. She never seeks the spotlight, never shows off her goodness. She cries every time I participate in a religious sacrament but she made it through both of my graduations with dry eyes.
She was always five minutes late to my activities, but she never missed them. Ever. She hates the term “facebook-stalking” and is genuinely offended when I use it (it isn’t stalking if it happens to appear on her facebook wall). She’s an extremely busy woman, but has an uncanny knack for answering the phone when I’m crying and knows exactly what opening with “I’m okaaaaaay…” means. She never let me watch The Rugrats, Grease, or Titanic. She always let me stay awake to read.
I know my mom really worries about being a good parent. Even now. But I can’t imagine being happier with the person my Mom shaped me to be. On her birthday, I’d like to thank her for all the gifts she’s given me, because if I spend 15 dollars on a candle for her, I’ll get yelled at for wasting money.