Monday, June 01, 2009

Heroes: Day 1/ mom

I turned 39 years old today. Nothing felt terribly different for me, though I anticipate being a little freaked out by next year's more momentous celebration. When I look in the mirror I still see myself as I perceive myself. In other words, nothing is catching me too off guard, yet. Well, there are the expanding hips & thickening trunks my legs have become since I began this third pregnancy, but then, my bathroom mirror isn't full length, so I can ignore that situation for now...for the sake of the baby...right? Running a marathon by my 40th birthday still isn't off the table, people! I'll have seven months from Baby's Birth to my 40th!!

But I signed up for this EveryDayForAMonth blog challenge, again. You may recall I failed to follow through in March--I was on a Lenten fast at the time, and felt that maybe my daily blogging was starting to replace Facebook. Like switching from tobacco to cloves, and saying you're no longer a smoker, right?

The National Blog Posting Month category for June is, "Who Are Your Heroes?" You know what kills me? The images options they posted for "heroes."


Really? Is either of these men a...hero? A comedian, sure! But...a hero?

OK, Red Skelton was one funny, funny guy, no doubt! But does he qualify for "hero" status? Well, he suffered two major losses in his life, as a suicide survivor, and father to a young son who died of Leukemia...and, he stood up for Christian faith in discussion of our Pledge of, sure! Many would and should mark him as a hero!

For me, though, on this anniversary of my birth, I have to count, first, my mom.

Mother's Day, 1998; my bridal shower, 1995

When I was born, mom was younger than the average mother--and she admits, unprepared to take on the responsibility of raising a child! But, in a beautiful note to me this year, she wrote that the moment she met me, she "fell in love." I have felt that love from my mother every day of my life. Even when I was sixteen and swearing at her through gritted teeth and a slammed fist on the dining room table, my mom loved me. Even when I was venturing down a path in my early 20's that made her rightly fearful, she loved me. Even now, in my last year of the 30-somethings, as necessity keeps us too distant from each other, I know my mother's love will always remain true for me--and now, for my children, as well. She prays for me every night--for my role as wife, for my family's well-being, and for each of my children, and my husband. She knows just what to ask when she calls for a family update. She always seems to come through for me in the most important moments (Mom was present at the births of my two children, and I hope we have the opportunity to share the birth of this third babe when the time comes, as well. She's also been available to help me move on a half-dozen occasions, even when my moving was deeply painful for her).

I graduated from Community College, 1995; Tom got his Master's degree, 2004

I miss my mom constantly--not just because I could use the parental relief of a nearby grandmother, nor because of the way she fully invests herself into my children's value as maturing human beings, but because of that love I feel from her which is so tangible it reminds me instantly of a very bad day when I was repulsively ill in high school. Sounds odd, I know--but you know when you are SO sick that you are whining for your mom? There is a clear day in my mind when I was as sick as I have ever been--and that little bucket beside my bed was there because my mom was home. And the blankets that engulfed my feverish body were tucked in place by my mom. The water that was on the ready had been carried up by her loving hands.

Sure, sure, every mom tends to her child when illness hits, but you see, my mom was patiently available when I needed her. Not only on that miserable day when my mouth was dry & I thought I'd die from stomach pain! I know that right now, at nearly-midnight, if I were in dire straits and really needed Mom, I could wake her with a phone call (though, frankly, I doubt she's sleeping at this moment--I inherited her night owl activity...), and weep my worries into the phone without feeling I'd inconvenienced her in the least.

Still, she draws respectable boundaries. The balance is artful!

In the past year or two Mom's had some preoccupations that have kept physical distance between us which saddens me--but I know this is a season, and it will pass, and I am a woman who doesn't need my hand to be held any more. It's just that when your mom is so dear to your heart, you want to keep her close.

The day Mom first found out she was going to become a grandmother, 2002; Mother's Day, 2008

Why is she my hero, and not just a really good mom? Well, she suffered through a difficult marriage and a painful divorce but practiced impeccable self-control in never negatively influencing my sister's and my opinion of our father. She always allowed us to have a unique relationship with him without her personal opinions coming down heavily on our times with him. This was an incredible gift! We were able to come to our own conclusions about Dad, and develop our own relationships with him over time. She asked about him--how was he--and had he called--and left it at that. She never looked for an opening to complain.

In fact, my mom just isn't a all! There are three lessons she repeated to us growing up--Be Creative, Take Risks, Be Responsible. But, those didn't weight heavily on me, because she came from a family who demonstrated these characteristics, and my mom lives this way, herself. I knew this was a way that could be followed. I saw that this approach led to a Good Life. Mom is a cautious optimist, and even when she might question a decision I'm making, she treads into the realm of critique sensitively.

Planned my grandparents' 50th anniversary surprise, 1993; flew out to Vegas to support me as Mrs. Connecticut-America, 1998

Sure, we've had some ticked-off moments--doesn't every mother/daughter team clash? But, Mom has demonstrated LOVE. Please don't think this is trite. I think authentic, real, genuine love is not as easy to find in this world as we might all like to believe. What does it look like? All that I've described about my mom. She is concerned when there is cause, but takes her worries to the Lord. She gets mad at me if she thinks I'm behaving irrationally, but forgives me if I've wronged her. Love is an under-running river with ebbs and flows, but it never stops moving forward. This river cannot turn back on itself, but is alive, and changes between noisy rapids and gentle bubbling. This is my mom's love. Beneath the surface, it is always moving...forward!

20 years ago; 10 years ago: SURPRISE!

So, today, on my birthday, I recognize my mom, who spent three years making difficult single-parenting decisions before finding love again. She chooses to care for herself beautifully (exercising, staying in shape, looking ten years younger than her age, which I refuse to reveal to you)--but not to the neglect of the rest of her family, whom she loves with the steadiness of a strong, beautiful river.

Mom & George's wedding day; and their 25th anniversary, last summer

Thank you, Mom, for choosing to mother me! I love you.

Mom with my sister, Anja, and me. Summer, 2008

Tending to my grandmother after grandma's aneurysm, circa 1999

Dancing with Grandpa, New Year's Eve, 2005

1 comment:

Robynn's Ravings said...

Oh my goodness. YOu are both so beautiful! Truly. And that's inside and out. You wrote things I think most mother's wait a lifetime to hear. I'm so glad you have EACH OTHER. Your sweet and loving heart is a testament to her if you wrote nothing. How meaningful that you wanted to. How full of blessing that you did. :)