Have you ever wondered what you could accomplish in a period of 50 years?
What about give birth to six children - completely naturally, I might add?
How about work for the London Ambulance Service - one of the biggest, and busiest Ambulance services in the world - while raising 4 of those children?
How about having your tubes tied after having four kids, then having it reversed with the understanding that it may be very unlikely you'd have more kids - only to have two more?
How about being a grandmother at 38? Again at 39? And then, having 8 grandchildren long before those 50 years have gone by?
What about the thought of once your kids are pretty much grown, you open up your house to children in the foster care system?
And then, have up to 5 foster children in the house at the same time?
There's so much more. I could go one for days. But I'll stop there.
So, who is the person that has done so much in the past 50 years? That would be my mother. Today, she celebrates her 50th birthday. Half a century she's been on this Earth - yet to see her? You'd think 40 years - tops. Don't believe me? Well, take a look at this...
This is my mom. Just last weekend. She'll hate me for using this picture - but it's the most recent pic I have of her. Take a look at this picture and tell me if you see a 50 year old woman. I know I don't. Not a wrinkle on her face. Clear, beautiful skin. A woman that has gone to Hell and back many times over - but has provided the joys of Heaven to her children - especially me.
When I think about my mother, I can't even begin to put in to words the feelings of pure love I have for this woman. She is my best friend. She is the person I can tell anything to - anything - and never feel judged, condemned, or embarrassed. She'll give me her honest opinion - sometimes without sugar coating - but it comes from the heart...and she's able to do it in a way that provides insight and perspective.
This woman has literally saved my life. More than she knows. When I thought all hope of my life was gone, when my whole being was beaten and crushed - she was there to pick up the pieces, and help me build a strong and stable life for myself and my children.
When I turned my back on her - at a time I thought I knew better - and treated her like she was nothing...she forgave me. Not only did she forgive me, but she opened up her arms and took me in to her embrace telling me that all was forgiven. It didn't matter what I did - she always forgave me. And I've done some nasty, undeserving things to this woman - and never has she held it against me.
For the past ten years or so, there hasn't been a week that's gone by where we haven't spent countless hours on the phone. We are the two people that can talk every single day, and still find plenty to talk about. Not much time passes where I find myself at her house - my childhood home. My kids love being there. I love being there. It's my escape - the place I can run when things are building up inside. And the door is always open.
Sure, we've had our rough times. Again, I've done things to this woman that make me break down in shame, hang my head low. But I don't have to ever think about those times. All is forgiven. There have been times that I've had to yell at her. Or I've had to get something off my chest that bothered me. Or I downright disagree with something she's said or done - and I feel the urge to let her know. But I know I can do those things - and the next day, everything will be back to normal.
I feel a little pang of something right now. I think it's because I'm leaving my dad out of all of this. I want to take just a second to add that my dad is just as amazing as my mom. I forgot his birthday this year - and that tears me up inside. But Dad, if you're reading this, just know that when your big 5-0 comes...I'll have just as many wonderful sentiments to share about you. :)
For the past couple of months, my mom has really looked forward to this day. She hasn't shied away from it. She hasn't felt a feeling that she's getting old, or that 50 is an age she should be ashamed of. No, she takes on today as a badge of honor - and so she should. She has
I was lucky enough to celebrate the turn of her birthday at midnight last night. I took my mom to the one place we are our closest - bingo. There's something about Mother/Daughter bingo that I cherish. It is our alone time. The time we can talk, laugh, and have a great time together - alone. Not many chances for that when I'm a mother of three and she's got two biological children and five foster children living in her house. It was such a great time.
My only regret? At the stroke of midnight, I let my mom walk out of my front door with the words "Happy birthday, Mom". That was it. As she drove out of the driveway I felt regret. It should have been the time I wrapped her in my arms and told her how happy and proud I was of her. I should have told her how much I love her. I should have told her how I'm excited to spend the next 50 years with her - bringing my grandchildren and her great grandchildren in to the world - and cherishing those times together. I didn't say it then - but I'm saying it now. It may be lost in translation - last night would have been much more a powerful time to express my deep feelings for her.... but luckily, I get another chance tonight at her birthday dinner. And I won't make the same mistake again.
So, to the woman who brought me in to this world...the woman that has raised me in to the woman I am today... to my hero....my mother:
HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY, MOM!! I LOVE YOU!!
Till next time. ;)