Today is my mom's birthday. It's also Dolly Parton's birthday, too but since I don't know Dolly I'll stick to talking about my mom.
I thought that she was just some random mother making lunches, doing laundry and driving me places. I thought her life was all about me and my sister. I thought she was happy in her anonymous mom life, no longer a person of her own but A Mother. It wasn't until I became a mother that I realised she's been a real person the whole time.
Miraculously, this situation that has taken out other teens hardly made my mom miss a beat. She still graduated from high school and she went on to business college and started her career. She worked hard, climbed the ladders she could and eventually decided to go back to school, to get a university degree.
I remember countless evening sitting at the dinner table with my mom, both of us scribbling away at assignments while Dad took care of my sister. All through my high school years my mom pulled double duty, triple duty really; she worked a full time job, went to university in the evenings and was still Mom. She juggled work expectations, university exams and was still very present in my day to day life.
I can only imagine how exhausted she must have been those late, late Friday nights when I would get home after being out with friends and crawl into her bed to talk about all the woes of Teenagerdom. She never once told me that she was too tired, too busy or just not interested in hearing about how That Girl made me look like a moron in front of That Boy or something like that.
Anyway, now that I am that Some Random Mother I can appreciate all that she was, all that she gave up and all that she worked for back then. I can see now how she postponed her dreams but never let go of them completely, that she put us first but never sold herself short, that she was always my mom but never just a mom. I respect her for all of her sacrifices and hard work. I treasure her for all of the moments she was my safe place, my counselor and my advocate. And I am in awe of her for the example of strength, perseverance and hope she lived every day ... still lives.
Happy birthday, Ma!
The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men - from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes