Today is my mother's birthday, or because she insists she is still 29, the anniversary of her 29th birthday. My mom is my rock. She taught me what it is to be a woman. Yes she handled the basics such as the horrific memorization of multiplication tables and how to clean a bathroom. But she also taught me more important life skills. She taught me to never stop learning. The mind stays sharp when you learn something new. Her favorite hobby is sewing and she has never stopped learning new techniques and exploring new ideas. My mother's sewing helped finance my college education. My mom taught me about sacrifice. She and my dad worked full work weeks and then came home and created things to sell at shows on weekends. Their sacrifice of time and energy meant I had opportunities they could have only dreamed about as children.
My mother is from a very small town in central Louisiana. She was raised in a time of segregation. And yet she always told me to judge people on their behavior, not the color of their skin or the origin of their birth. Or as she always says, "There is good and bad in all kinds of people". Because my daddy was in the military we had the opportunity to live over seas twice. My mom took full advantage of seeing as much of Europe as possible. My parents exposed me to different cultures, ideas and art at every opportunity. My mother spent much of my childhood with a travel book in her hands. From her I learned that our lives are blessed with choices and the quality of our life depends on our choices and actions. We can mourn changes in our life or we can embrace them and see them as exciting opportunities to learn something new.
She taught me that not only are children a gift but an immense responsibility. Giving birth is the easy part, providing an education and teaching them about life is the challenge. All the money in the world will not raise a child. Time, attention, love and discipline are required to raise a child. Giving children your time and attention, giving them rules and consequences, expecting the best and loving them when they are at their worst is more valuable than money. She has taught me by example and I hope to do the same with my children. My mother also taught me that motherhood does not end at 18 or 21. She still mothers me and worries about me and my boys. I know that I will do the same.
My mom taught me self reliance and courage. She is the toughest woman I have ever met. Mom has never cared what other people thought of her. She wears what she likes, is friends with people she respects and says what she thinks. If you mess with her family or friends then God help you because she does not back down until you have been shown the error of your ways. This woman is solid steel and yet she does not hesitate to offer assistance when needed. She has shown me that you can love someone and still tell them no if what they want is not in their best interest. I am blessed to have my mother and I still rely on her for so much in my life. She is still my moral compass and my inspiration. Happy birthday Mom and thank you for your guidance and love.