Today is my mom's birthday. Sometimes as we age birthdays come and go with little fanfare, with a lot of fanfare, or hardly noticed because so many other things are going on. We have a lot going on, so this is a little bit of fanfare for you, Mama.
I also have come to realize that some people don't like pictures of themselves splashed all over the internet, so instead, for visual appeal, we have pictures of Beck In Glasses, which I find very appealing. Yep, I'm biased, and this is my site, so look or don't at the cute kid. I dare you not to smile a little bit.
My mom has four girls, started young, all of the usual tidbits for the generation above me. As I prepare to birth #2 I think a lot about how I'll have enough time/energy/love for two humans, some days loving Beck is more than I can bear. My mom somehow did it x4, and I don't have any memories of feeling left out or neglected or shuffled around because there wasn't enough of her to go around. One of the very first questions we ask new moms that come into our practice is "how's your relationship with your mother?" The answers vary widely, of course, and we ask because we know something: everyone needs to be mothered, and if not by their own mother, then by someone. This has been proven over and over, and so we ask over and over.
My mom mothers everyone. She was the mom in high school that decided when random friends were too sleepy to get home so texted their mothers to say "they're on the couch, it's fine," and the mom that hugs all of our friends at parties/weddings/gatherings even now that we're all old and have children of our own. She was named the Guardian ad Litem of the year for our area, which means that she is the best volunteer mother for all the babies who don't presently have anyone to advocate for them. She mothers everyone, and she does it very well.
Of course, mothering everyone sometimes means that she forgets to let herself be mothered and cared for. My dad and I were planning a little something for her awhile ago and discussing things she likes. I had seen her enjoy a few things on our list of "maybe this" for this particular celebration, and he finally just said "she's so nice, she'll like the plan just as much as what we pick." It was 100% true, and a little sad too. As children we are so obsessed with PICKING things, and somewhere along the way that goes away, like when I ask Beck where MAMA would like to eat for lunch and she chooses the fast food joint where she gets lemonade because that's a huge treat for her. I don't mind, of course, and my mom never minds not being the picker either, but it's something that should still be fun and special no matter our age. I'm going to find a way to make the woman choose something without regard to cost or others' preferences.
The reason my mom doesn't choose many things for herself, of course, is that she chooses us, and her guardian kids, and other people that need her. She chooses us over and over with very little regard for herself and we are so lucky and undeserving of the support and love that we receive year in and year out. I can't imagine a better embodiment of a mother, and I'm so very lucky that she's mine.
Happy Birthday, Mama! There's a cake coming your way, but Beck will probably be involved in picking it and it'll have a squirrel on it or something.