I think I knew this as early as I can remember remembering. And I can't, in all honesty, even say that I really remember when I first knew because I think it was always there. From the very beginning, from the moment I could understand what my heart did, I knew I was lucky. And I knew that because I am lucky enough to have an amazing Mom.
Actually, I was lucky enough to be raised by two amazing role models and friends. They raised my siblings and me with an openness to emotion. An opennes to experiencing life and to embracing whatever comes your way. And because of that, we have always been a family that cries at sad movies and songs, cries at goodbyes (even when we know we're going to see each other soon), and cries when we laugh. And we laugh a lot.
Growing as a Navy family, we said a lot of goodbyes. But, we were all proud of my Dad and his service. And, when duty called and he was shipped out, my Mom was on active duty, too. She was on active duty as the Mother of the four of us. She was a provider, a protector, and a magician who conjured up surprises and stories and games out of the ordinary (and out of the ever-growing trunk/s of dress-up clothes that we always had around). She healed skinned knees and consoled us when we missed our Dad and wanted to know when he would be back. She was and is still always curious, always wanting to know more. And we all inherited a love and a respect for history from her. And she has always been constantly laughing, constantly encouraging, constantly courageous, and constantly there for us.
We moved a lot. And it was often hard on us. New homes. New people. New schools. But, there is something that is born in that that bonds you so close. And we were fortunate to have parents who did not let that bond bind us so close together that we did not let others in. Oh, no. We were shown from the very beginning, from before we could remember. And so we knew that love was something that could be spread. We were shown that a home is something that reaches beyond a building. A home was family. And we were shown by example that a family can even reach beyond bloodlines.
And, in 1990, when My Dad had his first heart attack, when he was in a coma, and the outcome was uncertain for so long, we saw the full impact of what lives lived like my parents' lead to. They lead to people pouring in from all directions. Family. All family.
And, in that time, I can say that I saw the very definition of what love, dedication and bravery are in my Mom. She was a pillar of strength. She was always there. And she held us and our family together. And we held on to her and waited for Dad to come back. No one tells you what you're supposed to do in those times. You just do. And only now that we are older and adults ourselves are we beginning to understand all the hard and impossible decisions that had to be made for my Dad by my Mom until he recovered. But, they were made. Love requires hard decisions sometimes. And you don't make them because you want to. You make them because you must.
But, that's life. And that's family. They are both ever-expanding. And there's love, pain, and humor in it all. And my siblings and I were lucky enough to have a Mom who taught us not to look back on the hard times of the past as a curse. We were taught to embrace it, to cry if we suddenly needed to, but to adapt remember to always keep our eyes wide. Because magic was always just around the corner.
To this very day, Mom always has a gleam in her eyes. Always. If you haven't had the chance to meet her yet, I hope that you will someday get to see this for youself. If she isn't currently conjuring up something, she will be soon. And that gleam is always equal parts mischief, curiosity, excitement, and pure joy. Growing up, that gleam would spring into action when our family was expecting a guest, usually when it was someone we were so so excited to see. And, just as the doorbell rang, she would shout, "Quick! Hide!" And we'd all run off, giggling, into closets and behind couches. And she would hide, too. And I'm sure there were at least a couple of occasions where, from our hiding places we giggled until we cried. Oh, eventually, she would open the door and let the person in and we'd all run out laughing. And, eventually, this game was even augmented to fit a more purposeful function by the addition of two words so that the rally cry became, "Jehovah's Witnesses! Quick! Hide!" But, there was always that element of curiosity in her gleam, too. So, she was also just as likely to invite the Jehovah's Witnesses in and talk with them. And, wouldn't you know it, she would eventually get to know some of them enough that they would come back and ask for her by name.
That's my Mom. And I know I am lucky. I know I am proud to be her son.And I wish her as much love as she's given to me and to this world right on back to her.
And I wish her the happiest of birthdays.
Originally Posted On Facebook.