I’ve learned how important it is not to take people for granted.
I know I have talked about how wonderful my mom is before, but today is her birthday, so I’m doing it again–and I’m not sorry about it.
One thing I’ve realized about my mom is that she is one of the reasons I love love so much, because she is a true model of what real love is and what real love does. I didn’t always pay attention like I should as a kid, because I was too busy worrying about the things I thought were the most important things in the world. And, sadly, none of those things even matter anymore.
When we were growing up, my mom worked at a preschool for many years. At one point, we only had one family car, and so my mom rode her bike to work almost every single day. During those years, she worked some part-time jobs, too, all to ensure that we could take part in all of the activities we wanted to and have everything we needed without having to worry about not being able to afford them. Then she went back to school and not only earned her bachelor’s degree but got a master’s, as well. (After I started teaching, I went back and took night classes to get my master’s. I cannot even imagine doing that while also having to take care of three kids and be a wife. I have no idea how she did that–and never once complained.) I will always remember the smile on her face when she walked across that graduation stage, and I think her joy was found more in her family being there rather than a diploma she was receiving.
She’s now a kindergarten teacher, and I truly believe it takes a very special person to be able to do that job every day. And my mom is the perfect person for it. Her patience is something I strive to achieve in my own life but usually fail. I mean, I’ve never seen her be mean to anyone. Ever. She just really gets what life is about, and she never lets pride get in the way of treating people kindly.
I’ll never forget when I was a sophomore in college and had to go to the hospital for pancreatitis. I didn’t let my roommate call my parents until I knew it was something serious, and I think she ended up calling them when I was drugged up with IV pain meds and not aware of anything that was going on around me. Before I knew it, my mom and sister were suddenly in my room at 2 a.m. or some ridiculous time like that. They had driven the three hours late at night simply because they cared. My sister ended up catching a ride home with a family friend the next day, because she had to go back to school, but my mom stayed with me for all four or five days that I was there. She always made sure the nurses were in my room the instant I needed them, and she even slept on some tiny, uncomfortable chair the first couple of nights until the hospital provided a bed for her. But she wasn’t even worried about any of that, because I don’t think she even knows how to put herself before anyone else–she always thinks of others first. Always.
I know moms often make sacrifices for their kids, but there were so many, and she never once acted like she was inconvenienced. And when she forgives, she forgives completely and never ever brings up the wrongs again. She also has so much strength and determination and never believes when people tell her something can’t be done–she’s full of too much hope for that.
She’s also taught me so much about staying young at heart. She’s the type of person who will climb trees with you, go on froyo dates with you, skydive with you (she did so with my brother), watch Gilmore Girls or One Tree Hill with you, dance with you (she owns the dance floor), be part of the Boot Scarf Club with you, take selfies with you, and wave dive in the ocean with you like you’re little kids. She loves to enjoy life with the people she loves–and her genuine joy is contagious.
I could go on and on about this woman and her beautiful heart. There are so many things about her that I try to make sure are reflected in me. She makes it look so easy, though. How is it that in the 30 years I’ve been on this earth I’ve never heard her say one bad thing about anyone? It’s because she always lets love win.
And, on her birthday, I can’t help but quote this woman and mean it will all of my heart: “It’s a beautiful day!”