When I was born, she whispered a prayer just for me.
She taught me to dance, but more importantly, she taught me that sometimes it’s okay to sit one out.
When my body burned and ached and my heart was shattered after delivering a tiny prince, she stayed by me and her tears became mine as we waited hours to see him again.
Because of her, I can cook poppy seed kolaches, homemade biscuits, stuffed shells, and calzones.
Once, she held me in my driveway as I cried out towards the tail lights driving away with fifteen years and my first love.
My eye patches after surgery always had a sticker on them, and she called me a pirate. She showed me that when we can laugh at ourselves and embrace our differences, we will never run out of confidence.
Her words of wisdom are etched on my heart: “Don’t party in your own backyard,” “Letting go isn’t the same as losing,” “Until the end, it’s too soon to tell,” “It’s okay to cry,” and “When you don’t know how to do anything else, love. Love is always a good idea.”
She looked at me and smiled a knowing smile as our babies touched each other’s heart surgery scars.
The songs she chooses for my life’s soundtrack are on point: “Stayin’ Alive” after my son’s heart surgery, “Die Motherf%*&$@! (Still)” on a particularly rough day, and “Rockabye” to celebrate mommy hood.
I know she’ll throw down in a heartbeat when the occasion arises. Grown men and dangerous dogs are no match for her.
She cautioned against picking up snakes. (I did it anyway…)
Her texts and phone calls always comfort me.
When the lights were cut off, she made it a game of hide and seek with flashlights.
Her mouth smiled, her eyes watered, and her hand waved as she saw her baby bird fly away from the nest.
The suitcase I took to my dad’s every other weekend was packed with love and a few sprays of her perfume.
She assures me that the single mom boat can be sailed beautifully with the right navigational skills. I believe her. She’s done it.
Because of her, I can French braid and pick a just-right watermelon.
Happy hours with her made me a better teacher.
Her home became a place of respite for my son and I as she provided shelter during our life storm.
When I made it through the living hell that only a person staying in a children’s hospital can comprehend, she looked at my son and said, “Your love helped saved him. I’m proud of you.”
Summers in the sun were a blast with her as the woods became my playground and the river my bath.
She stayed up late with me as we worked our way towards a 4.0 GPA and success. She reminded me that things can be lost, but knowledge is forever.
My first pair of heels were from her. So was my first hug.
She laughed with me when we flew over a rainbow in Hawaii and later at the pediatric heart clinic as she reminded me that somewhere over a rainbow, dreams really do come true.
I think of her when I look at my pearl ring and remember her phrase, “The world is your oyster. Take in the grit, and make it something magnificent.”
She helped calm my soul with oils in my hair and samosas in my belly.
Pink rose bushes bloom where she planted them.
I have her smile. And her fire.
I will call her today and thank her. I’ll tell her she means the world to me. She’ll continue helping me go through life’s changes with grace and at least some dignity. She’ll probably provide a glass of wine too. I can’t ever repay her, but I can attempt to pay it forward.
Who is she? She is my mom. She is my step-mom. She’s my aunt, my sister, my neighbor, my grandma, my son’s cardiologist, my friend, and my light. She is me. She is you. She is a mom and every woman I’m blessed to know.