Day: March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” — Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

A few weeks ago I did an entry on my dad for his birthday.  Now it is my mother’s turn for today is her birthday.  Its almost hard for me to write on my mom without it sounding too effusive.  Simply put, she was born to be a mother.  It is her gift.  She’s a natural nurturer- patient, kind and understanding.  Naturally it took me a while to appreciate all she did for me but now I marvel. Some of the specific things I love about my mom are:

1. She is always there for me.  My mom has 6 kids, which is a daunting number by most standards but these 6 range in age from 30 to 9.  Such an age gap requires my mother to balance the needs of older children with kids, single me, a teenager in high school, a middle school aged boy and a young girl.  Not every mother could multitask her mothering as well as my mom does.  Even though I am very independent I still need the care of my mother.   I am so grateful that we talk almost daily on the phone and visit whenever we can.  The greatest thing is that my mom doesn’t make me feel that the time she spends on me is a sacrifice even though I know it often is.  It might be something as simple as asking her about a recipe or a laundry tip, but I appreciate that she is there for me whenever I need it.

A perfect example of my mom’s help and loving nature occurred last December.  It was the day before our tenants were to arrive at our new house.  I was growing increasingly stressed out because a snow storm was preventing furniture movers, cleaners and other people from arriving at the house.  I had a picture of the people arriving at the house without furniture in a construction zone.  By 4:30 I had all I could take, and I called my mom in tears.  Whatever it was she was doing, she dropped it and helped me calm down.  With the help of my dad and mom, we solved the problem and everything worked out. Not everyone has someone to turn to when they are stressed out, and I am grateful for such a blessing in my life.

2. She actually enjoys her children.  This has always been a great trait of my mother.  When other mom’s were counting down the days for summer vacation to end my mom was sad.  She not only loves her kids but genuinely has fun with them.  When I have exciting news, a funny story or a meet a cute guy, the first person I want to tell is my mom.  We used to tease her that she couldn’t tell a joke or a story to save her life but that never stopped her from making the effort!  Both my parents have always set an example  on how to enjoy life- how to accept who you are and gain pleasure from whatever phase you are in.  They are not worriers, moping about looking for pity.  They are happy with their life’s and taught me to conquer challenges while still remaining happy. I have particularly noticed this trait lately as it seems many unhappy people often surround me- people that are miserable with their station in life.  My mother is great at enjoying the journey of life.

3. She is always learning.  My mother has the intellect to be a college professor, a senator, or any other educated profession; however, she decided to be a mother. Defying stereotypes of the soap opera watching housewife, my mom has always been a self-learner.  My whole life she has been up-to-date on current events  in practically every field.  In addition, she is well-read in philosophy, literature, political theory, horticulture, the arts and every other topic.  It took years in college before I took a class that my mother was not only familiar with but well-versed and informed- sometimes more so than my professors.  When we used to get sick, my mother was the first one to the library (or now the internet) researching the condition, quickly becoming a mini-expert.

She was also  great at creating learning experiences for her children.  I remember going on walks and her pointing out trees, bugs, or birds and then describing something interesting about them- how they live, grow, what colors they become etc.  In college I would often call my mother and go over material with her because I knew if I could explain it to her than I knew I understood the topic  well enough for a test.  On such calls the emphasis was always on what I was learning, not on the grade (both my parents have never been grade-focused, which I am grateful for). I used to think all mothers were like this but have since learned to appreciate the emphasis my mom made on learning and improving oneself.

4. She is always sacrificing.  When I was 10 my mother announced to us that she was pregnant.  As excited as we were, pregnancy meant she  would have to go on full bed-rest.  She underwent this trial two more times- making almost 2 1/2 years of my mother’s life in bedrest (not including what she had for us older kids). I can’t even imagine how difficult this must have been.  It was hard enough for our whole family, but it must have been a nightmare for my mother.  It’s one thing to sit in bed when you are ill but for most of the pregnancies my mom felt fine, yet she still had to sit day and night.  This type of sacrifice is emblematic of the way my mother has lived her life- always thinking of others needs ahead of her own comfort.  She has given countless hours of her life caring for new babies, working on school projects with us, making costumes for school plays,  babysitting grandkids, cooking meals, and making traditions special for her family.  In today’s society we seem to think there has to be an equal link between work and rewards.  The sense of sacrifice previous societies accepted has practically gone away- except with my mom.

5. She is a wonderful nurturer.  Again, when I was growing up I thought all mothers were like my mom- warm, kind, sympathetic.  I have learned that she is special.  She knows how to comfort a crying eye- even at the age of 28! She listens better than anyone I know, and she does it while doing a hundred other things.  Her and my dad would read to us every night growing up and then we would say prayers together.  Rituals like these are all about comfort and love for children.  My mother is wonderful at such things.

6. She is patient.  When I was in high school I felt different from my entire family, including my mom.  Thankfully I never really rebelled, but I am sure there were plenty of moments where she was frustrated with my attitude.  I think the reason I didn’t rebel is because my parents were patient with me . They gave me the space to be myself- to figure out what I wanted.  I have never felt that my parents had preconceived notions of who I was to become or what my life is supposed to be like.  They have just let me be me and accepted that.  Such growth requires patience on the part of parents, and my mother is the ultimate example.

It really is hard to write about my mom and make it sound adequate.  Let me just say- she is wonderful and I love her.  I could not have been more blessed. I don’t have any pictures of my mom by herself (probably because she was busy preparing a meal or taking care of a kid!). Here is one of my mom and dad with my newest niece Nelle Lloyd.

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“By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“I looked on child rearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best I could bring to it.” — Rose Kennedy

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.” — George Washington (1732-1799)