On Saturday, at the tail end of one of the worst days in what has been a year full of bad days, my mom opened her arms and beckoned me in for a hug, just like she used to do when I was a kid. Obediently, I stepped into the embrace and hugged her tight. With my boots on, I towered over her and her permed hair tickled my nose.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you,” she said.
I tightened my arms around her and silent tears started to slide down my cheeks. There were so many things I wanted to say, but my throat was too tight. Because, how many times have I thought the same thing about her?
My mom is my rock. Where my dad is the big softy under a hard as nails exterior, my mother is the opposite. She is all kindness, compassion, comfort, warmth and love – the very epitome of home and motherhood. But at her core is pure steel – unbending, unbreakable steel. She is without a doubt one of the strongest women I know. Not to mention clever, kind and a whole heck of a lot of fun.
I treasure the time we spend together, whether it’s out golfing, on one of our frequent shopping excursions, or curled up watching old movies. Because she’s not “just” my mother, she’s also my best friend.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. There was a time as a teenager when I may have felt differently. But, then, what mother-daughter relationship is without strife during those exceedingly difficult teen years?
Now, of course, I can appreciate her for the truly remarkable human being she is. I still wonder at the strength and courage it took for her, a city girl, to take the leap of faith with my father in the early ‘60s when they purchased “the Farm.” Not to mention the love and patience she has shown by putting up with my dad these past 51+ years. (Love you, Pops!) Or the trials she’s endured thanks to the antics of my siblings and I. She defines unconditional love.
All she expects in return is love. Which I am happy to shower her with on any occasion, for I truly love her with all of my heart. It is my dearest wish to make her proud. And I am beyond thankful that I can be here for her now, when she needs someone to be her rock.
On Tuesday, my mother celebrates a birthday. I can’t tell you which one, because she gets very upset when I tell people how old she is. Which, as it so happens, is something I do rather often. No one believes me when I tell them, which is why I feel so compelled. (I always tell her if I look half as good as she does at that age, I’d be singing it to the hills. She just gives me that look. You know the one.)
So just this once, out of deference to her wishes, I will refrain from sharing the number. But if you’re curious, I’ll offer this advice. Make your best guess. Then add 10 years. You’ll still likely be 5 or more years too low, but at least it will get you in the ballpark.
Happy (slightly early) Birthday to the beautiful, courageous, wonderful woman I am privileged to have as a mother. Love you, Mumsy!
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