Happy Birthday, Mom!

Sunday – 07 June 2015
Some people will note that today is Sunday.
Others might lament that it’s the end of the weekend.

I’ll take a little of Column A, a dash of Column B, and a double-helping of “Neither of those things really matter, because it’s my mother’s birthday!”

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It would be a gross understatement to say that “I love my mom.” Because, I do. Not just because she’s my mom – and is, therefore, more or less stuck with me – but because she’s been one of my biggest supporters and, when needed, biggest voices of reason… even when it’s caused her pain, heartbreak and/or sacrifice. My sister, Kristen, and I have been astoundingly lucky and blessed to have her for our mother.

A few days ago, her high school chorus threw her a surprise birthday/second retirement party. I found out about it via social media. The best part wasn’t seeing the pictures, but reading the wonderful things that her students – who only saw her for a small fraction of their day, five days a week – had to say about her. I loved the fact that so many of them said that she was such a strong and positive influence in their lives. To be fair, it wasn’t the first time that I’ve heard/read these things from her students, but it always makes me even more proud to be her son when I do.

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And, if was only the students from her current classes who had such glowing things to say about her, that would be one thing. But that’s not the case. Students from years (even decades) past still show up when she “puts out the call” for her alumni chorus. And it is far from unusual for some students – past and present – to show up at the holidays, just because they were in town.

That’s the kind of teacher she is… at least for the next five days. She’s retiring. Again. After forty years in the classroom. (I don’t know what amazes me more: That the school system asked her to return to teaching a year after she originally retired or that she said “Yes.”)

That’s also the kind of mother that she’s always been. Kind. Generous. Loving. Not that she wouldn’t light into you if you got out of line, either. Thank God she’s mellowed with age. Somewhat. Regardless, I wouldn’t be the person I am without her influence. For that, I am grateful.

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Or, for the “Too long; didn’t read” version: “Happy birthday, Mom” and “I love you!”

Namaste.