My friends, today I am 30 and I am embracing it with both hands, pulling it in close, and wearing it like crushed velvet.
But that’s not what this post is about.
Today’s post is for my beautiful Mom, MaryAnn. She was the first person to hold me 30 years ago today, and is the person most likely to be holding my hand tomorrow.
My mom has three daughters. Courtney was born in 1980, me in 1981, and Tara in January of 1983. Just pause for a moment to imagine the madness of three little girls that close in age, then think about how much harder it got for her two years later when she found herself going through a divorce and raising us mostly on her own. She was twenty-nine years old.
I wouldn’t be smiling either if I was holding one kid, had another pulling on my hair, and yet a third (me) doing something weird behind my head.
But she did smile a lot.
Despite how overwhelming and difficult that time must have been for her, Mom never put anything before her girls, and focused on rebuilding a life for our family. She called us “cherubs” and piled on the affection, which we reciprocated. My aunt likes to tell us, “Your poor mother couldn’t even go to the bathroom without you kids banging on the door because she wasn’t holding you!” To this day we are still an affectionate bunch.
Before you roll your eyes, please know it wasn’t always kittens and cupcakes. My teen years with my mom were more than typical. We fought a lot. I told her she didn’t understand me, and she told me I had a lot to learn. Doors slammed, punishments were dealt, but then I moved out of the house for college and the pressure lifted.
I started to look forward to our phone calls, and on visits home we would plan special outings together. My mom and I both get excited about visiting historical sites, shopping for consignment housewares, visiting bakeries, and stalking library book sales. Our relationship began to grow in a new direction.
In the years since then my mother has become something entirely different to me than just my parent. She is a wonderfully unique person, and someone who I love and admire beyond compare. I look to her as an example for how to live my life with honesty, kindness, and a slightly-warped sense of humor. I also look to her for company on my walks home from work, as my top taste-tester, and source of secondhand cookbooks. Lots and lots of cookbooks that I don’t have room for, but cannot refuse.
Today I turned 30, and I wouldn’t be here without her. I can’t say with any certainty that I know where the near future will take me, but I do know my mom will be there, encouraging me and sharing my enthusiasm.
Thanks for giving birth to me, Mom, and for everything else you have given me since. I love you!