At five years old, I fell off a see-saw and I landed on my head. I fractured my skull that day. You sat with me night and day to ensure I was healing, shocked when half my face turned black and blue. At nine, I had my tonsils removed, and you nursed me back with ice cream and vats of raspberry Jell-O. Only months later, with a tumor taken from my arm, you checked and cleaned my bandages. When I returned to school for fifth grade, you stormed the building to ensure I was in the proper classes and not held back by my previous absences. When I was knocked down in ninth grade and could barely get around for months, you took me to every specialist you could in order to fix me.
It wasn’t all tragedy, either. You supported me in every endeavor.
When I followed Lisa around the house mimicking her moves, you enrolled me in dance and gymnastics for a year. When I “borrowed” your yarn and tried to make wild Rube Goldberg contraptions in my room, you always cheered my endeavors, though you did encourage me to ask next time. We set up obstacle courses inside the house and in the yard, and you asked us to do two things: to clean up when we were done and to be careful. You encouraged our creativity.
For the middle school science fair, you stood by my side mere hours after major periodontal surgery. (I still can’t fathom how!) When I was home in ninth grade and started to write, you devoured every word I typed, and you encouraged me to grow and deepen my stories. You inspired me further with pewter castles and dragons, and I brought them to life in my tales.
As I grew up, I needed support in other ways, whether balancing college courses, dealing with relationships, or learning to cope with coworkers. I didn’t always make good choices in the people I kept around, but even then you were always there for me. You didn’t coddle me, but you advised me well. You accepted that I needed to make my own decisions and you cried with me or cheered with me, depending on how things went.
When we go to lunch now, we talk about heavy topics and light ones too. We both joke with the wait staff that the food was “terrible” even when we’ve licked our plates clean. We support each other in the things that we need. And we relish in each other’s joys.
This is just a smattering of the times you’ve been there for me; a mere sample of the ways you’ve supported me and fought for me and cared for me.
I couldn’t have been born to a better woman. Truly, you were the one I needed. I’m grateful and proud to have you as my mom. I love you and cherish you always.
Happy Birthday, Mom!