For my mother’s recent birthday, each member of the family came up with fifteen memories of special times we shared with her. We wrote these on origami paper, folded them into flowers, and presented her the bouquet at champagne picnic.
Almost as difficult as working these small squares of paper into something vaguely resembling a rose or lily was picking the memories themselves. It’s not for lack fond times to draw upon. Rather, the opposite plagued me. I struggled to choose a particularly special birthday, for example, because my Mom made EVERY birthday memorable. From My Little Pony cakes to murder mystery themed sleep overs, she worked so hard to make the day special.
She attended EVERY play, EVERY concert, EVERY game.
When my new elementary school didn’t have a Gifted and Talented program, she established one (and guess who got grandfathered in as a result). She pressed my 6th grade teachers to graduate me beyond remedial math and helped me slosh my way through calculus homework six years later.
And she did all this, for both me and my sisters, while going to graduate school, cultivating an amazing career, volunteering, cooking dinner every night, singing in the church choir, battling cancer. She’s brave and elegant, smart and deeply compassionate. The older I get, the more I wish I could be just like her.
In part, this is a shameless public tribute to the greatest woman in my life. I hope it also serves as a reminder of those people whose presence in our lives is so ubiquitous, so steady and dependable, we often overlook how profoundly they shaped and sustain us.
Here’s to many more wonderful memories!