I am lucky – I have awesome mom. She patiently put up with me as an “energetic” child. She has been my biggest advocate, from taking me to the emergency room close to 20 times, to encouraging me to pursue my dreams to study, write and make art. She is always there for me.
I can say that she is a great cook, a great baker of cookies and cakes and great at giving baths to dogs and babies – always asking, “What’s the best part about taking a bath?” (the answer is, “Hugs when you’re done!”) She’s great at braiding hair. She is a surprisingly accurate webMD and she has an uncanny intuition. She has a great eye for art and colors. She is great at running numbers. Between my sister and myself, she has sat through at least 1,000 gymnastics meets, track meets and basketball games. She is one of 8 kids and has a twin brother. She is a grandmother to three. At the age of 60 she had heart surgery and started to train – she started boxing, and lifting weights. My sister and I, who have always wondered from where we got our athletic acumen were somewhat surprised to learn that, along with our freckles and thick wavy hair, we got it from our mom.
Last year, at the age of 69, she took her first solo trip abroad – to Turkey, to help me care for my new baby. In so many ways, she has traveled quite a long way from her tiny hometown in Wisconsin. Now that I have a child of my own, I realize the thing I most want to give him, is also the most important thing my mom has given to me – A deep dedication to service and fairness.
My mom goes to her numerous volunteer gigs like she’s getting paid to be there. Like many women, she is doing the unpaid and under-paid work of the world – even well into “retirement.” She has modeled an open-minded life of service through her diverse group of friends, which transverses race, class, gender and physical ability, something I now understand to be rare in this world. I could not possibly list all of the things which she as done to serve her community but it ranges from scoring track meets to volunteering for the deaf-blind community, where she spent most of her career. Today she works what is basically an unpaid, part-time job helping seniors navigate their medical bills and the new and ever-changing laws pertaining to their care, some of them younger than herself. She has taught me to, “Bloom where I am planted.”
She is awesome. She is strong. She is funny, kind and fair.
I want to be just like her. Happy Mother’s Day, mom!
I love you, and thanks.