You can fight me on this one, but it's Mother's Day, so we all have to decide we're right.
I do know one thing about my mom, something that has gotten clearer as I have gotten older: She had no idea what was coming.
I don't say this because I was such a horrible kid (in my own, insensitive way I still think I was probably awesome, as kids go), but because when I look at old pictures of my parents, it's what I think now. How could they have known what was waiting for them?
I'm sure in some sense this is true of everyone, but here's the crude, rough cliff's notes of my mom's story:
She married my dad in 1975, when she was just 17 and he 22. They're still married (a feat in itself).
When I was born in 1981, following a healthy pregnancy, I was blue, not moving and almost written off as a lost cause. Even when I revived, my parents were told I wouldn't see, hear. walk or talk. My mom was 23 (I have since done all of those things).
Eight years later, my sister Tara was born, and despite every measure being taken to ensure a safe pregnancy, Tara had massive oxygen loss that has caused her to have severe physical and mental disabilities, epilepsy and other concerns. She remains a happy, beautiful kid.
So when other mothers experienced the stress of balancing ballet class and soccer practice for their kids, my mom balanced physical therapy, doctor's appointments and the host of shocks and surprises that followed. This is not to say that other mothers have it easy. But I think it's fair to say that when you have kids, there are stresses you can anticipate, and others you can't.
Throughout all of this, my mom has continued to work as a nurse, serving others when she is not caretaking at home. I have been out of my parents' house for a while, but Tara remains there, and requires round-the-clock care from both my parents.
My mother is the best juggler I have ever seen, and she manages to keep things running with grace, and humor, and a desire to serve others that can't be quieted. I know this is just a simple blog post, and bloggers all over are writing similar praises of their mothers today, many of them far more eloquently, but I have to say it: for me, my mom is the best, and I can only hope to glean some of her fortitude, her wit and her compassion for my life.
Love you, Mom. :)