Today is MY mama's birthday.
I'm not going to share her age. She'd come kick my butt for that. Although..... that would get her here! :) Nah... still not gonna do that.
What I AM going to share are some of my favorite memories.
I don't remember too much about my life before I was about seven or so. But I do have a couple of memories that really stand out.
When I was two, I had to have an emergency appendectomy. I remember fighting the anesthesia, adamantly declaring that I had to wait for my doctor. Once I saw him, I was apparently out like a light. The next thing I know, I was in the recovery room. And there was my mama, with my favorite stuffed animal--a big, pink elephant I had *brilliantly* named Ellie. I think I would have been just as happy to see her if she hadn't brought Ellie with her.
On my seventh birthday (I think... could have been eight. I'm a bit fuzzy) I woke up to the most beautiful princess dress ever! And my mom had agreed to let me have my first slumber party, where we all ran around in our Underoos all night! :) And she made me a cake. I don't remember anything else about that birthday, or many others surrounding it, but I remember that dress and that cake.
My mom scrimped so that I could have piano lessons. I don't play piano anymore; but those lessons, combined with the hours I would spend just listening to my mama play so beautifully--and all by ear, since she didn't read music-- on that piano or on her guitar (and oh!... when she'd sing--- the angels would stop and listen it was so beautiful), gave me a love of music that I carry within my heart to this day.
My sophomore year in high school, I was starring in my very first stage production. My mama was there for the entire run, even when no one else from my family could come. When I would sing the National Anthem a capella-- and all by my lonesome--before all the school sporting events, my mom would talk the ticket booth into letting her come just inside the gates, so she could be right up front to hear me sing.
As I grew, my mama made sure I learned the lesson of managing my money. I used to be so jealous of my friends, when their parents would just buy them their cars, letter jackets and class rings; and give them money to go out. I had to earn my spending money. I made weekly payments to my parents for my first car. I paid half the cost of my letter jacket, and the full cost of my class ring. I had to have a job while I was in high school. While at the time I might have thought that wasn't fair, looking back I see what my mama was trying to teach me. Responsibility, and the ability to prioritize what was needed versus what was wanted.
While in a lot of ways, I'm a daddy's girl.... its always been my mama that I've admired and looked up to, and wanted to emulate. Without going into details, I'll tell you that my mom has had a life full of challenges--physical and emotional-- that have made her such a strong woman, when many others would have crumbled. She was a single parent long before the gene donor left, and she always put us before herself. When her body should have stopped on her, she'd just grit her teeth and keep moving forward. She's always been a believer in living for today, but planning for tomorrow, and promoting the idea that if you believe hard enough, you can make it happen for yourself.
When Coach and I first got married and found out we were pregnant, my mom was right there with her support. And after Jock was born, she was invaluable to me. We didn't have any money, Coach was working very long hours on the graveyard shift (and even when he was home it was difficult--our first few years of marriage really sucked. I don't think we really wanted to be there), the baby was taking everything from me that I could spare and then some, and I was tired. Just plain tired. I'd call her after a long, sleepless night, frustrated beyond what I thought I could bear. She'd come right over, hug me tight, bundle Jock and I up in the car, and take me to Taco Bell. In the state I was in most times, that was better than taking me to the best steak house in town.
As I've continued to grow, and raise my children, my mama has continued to be my biggest source of support, and my biggest fan. She is the first to celebrate with me when something goes right, and the first to cry with me when something goes wrong. She is often the only one who can pick up on the tone of my voice when something isn't working itself out right in my heart. And even though we are hundreds of miles apart, I know that with one phone call I will be able to feel her love and hug me.
There is so much more I could say about my mama. I haven't even touched on what an awesome grandma she is! But the internet only has so much space on it! :)
Mama... happy birthday today! I love you so much more than you will ever fully know, and I owe you so much more than I could ever repay. You have made me the woman I am today, and you know what? I really like that woman.
Thank you, Mama.