The most beautiful woman I know is pictured right here. Today is her birthday, and I have a few things to say.
Mama, I wish I could be there to celebrate with you today. As the years pass and I learn more about the journey of a mother, I grow to understand your heart and what you have been through more than ever before. Before I was a mama myself, I am pretty sure I took for granted what it is a mother does. What you have done. For me. Sure, you fed and cuddled and clothed and cheered me through every season of my life. I could always see that. But what I didn’t see until more recent years is that you laid your whole self down…dreams, hopes, happiness, and even health…to give me wings. To give me a fighting chance at a life filled with goodness. I didn’t know how deep a mother has to dig to find the real gold to give her children. Again and again. How she takes lashes to the back as storms rage while her little nest is covered, protected, and kept warm under her wings. How she gives more even when the tank is empty, and how she holds everything together when the strength is gone and the heart is broken and the future is uncertain.
I didn’t understand the magnitude of the gifts you have given me. Not just life, but life with wonder. Hope. A persevering spirit. Life with courage, adventure, love. Many of those things at the expense of your own. The gratitude I have for what you have given me is not measurable, and I suspect I will continue to discover even more of those treasures as my own children grow and shine light on the next parts of the motherhood journey.
In case you’re wondering where in the world I found this knockout photo of you, I went in search of a snapshot to put into this post and happened upon this frame from under the Santa Monica pier in the summer of 2007 when my oldest was turning one year old. What a beauty you are. Those kind eyes stare me right through. Happiest of birthdays to you and hugs from us all.