Thursday, January 10, 2008

75 and counting

My mom turned 75 today. Isn't that neat! I know when I turned 25 I was a quarter of a century, it was a big deal. I haven't hit the half way mark yet, but my mom has officially hit three quarters of a century. And she is having a time with this one. I called her with a Happy Birthday greeting and then proceeded to mention to her that she was three quarters of a century old. She laughed and told me that this was a rough one. But she is getting on with the day.
Now, I call her mom, because she has been the single most influential woman in my life. And trust me, I have had plenty of woman in my life. Some not even worthy of the air that I breath. But, mom, well, she is a wonderful woman, a terrific grandmother, and it took me a while to notice that she is a great mom.
I love to pick out cards for her, but it is hard, she didn't brush my hair when I was little, she didn't hold me when I skinned my knee, she didn't walk me to my first day of school. So finding a card for her takes time and sometimes tears. But I always end up with something very appropriate. I want her to know that she means so very much to me.
She came into my life when I was 15. I lived alone with my dad for 8 years, and I was bound and determined that I wasn't going to let anyone take him away from me. Looking back, it was a good thing, a little stability is always good. But she didn't know what she was getting into. I was a teenage girl that had zero female tendencies. A young girl that craved some kind of femininity, spoiled rotten brat that didn't need a mom in her life. Trust me, I didn't want anyone in my life, but I needed someone in my life. I needed someone that would put me on the right path. And that was mom.
She came into a marriage, only being married one time before, not knowing all of the story with my dad, and only knowing that I was involved. She didn't know all of the baggage that came with it. She also came into the marriage only having one son.
She came into a marriage, not being accepted by a girl that was not willing to give up the relationship, alone, with her father. Looking back now, well, we all know the outcome there. She took me on, argued with me, put me in my spot, questioned my way of life as I got older, and did all the things that a mom was supposed to do. .
As I have gotten older, I have come to realize that it wasn't all that bad with mom around. She was a good woman. She put up with a lot. Not only with me, but with my dad. She supported me when I didn't want to go to nursing school. She called the shots when I had to plan a wedding from 800 miles away. She got the first phone call when Eric was born, she was the first to know that there could be a problem with PJ.
So, today I honor my mom. I know that she isn't my biological mother, she is more important to me. I also know that one day she will be gone. I can't look at that right now. I look to her for guidance to this day. I look forward to calling her, she loves the boys so very much. Right there on top of things when they do something, when they bring home report cards, when they play a game or have something exciting to tell.
I called her this morning. I wanted to make sure that her cards came in the mail. They did, but, "mom, did you get the picture that PJ drew for you?"
"There wasn't anything in there."
"Well, I will have him draw another one for you. Just tell him you liked it so much that you need another one."
"I think I threw it away. I can't believe I did that. I put everything they send me on the fridge. Where could that be?"
"Don't worry about it mom, he can draw another one for you."
"Oh my goodness, I bet you it is in the trash. I don't know what I was thinking."
I told her not to worry about it, I will cover it and take care of it. Not a big deal, just get him to draw something else, that way he has practice and he has fun with it too.
We hang up, she is frantic over this. I reassure her that it is ok, it will be taken care of and I can have something in the mail to her tomorrow. Not a big deal, it is nothing that I, as a mother, can't handle properly.
I got a phone call shortly after we hung up.
"I found it. It was in the trash, and it is not wrinkled. So, don't tell him anything." All I could do was laugh. I have seen her go through trash before to get something that she tossed. I knew that is where she was heading as soon as we got off the phone.
I love my mom. No, she didn't make me the mother I am today. No, she wasn't there to hold me from the moment of birth. But she is my mom. A woman that I never thought would be in my life. And I am forever grateful that she is still here. If not for her sister, husband, and son, for me.