Mom, thanks for loving me to pieces

I’ve always known I hit the jackpot with my mother. She and my dad taught me the most important lessons I will ever learn in life. My mom has shaped my life in more ways than I can say but I’m going to try.

My mom was the kind of woman who wanted to be a mother I think since infancy. Her kids are her entire world and her life’s priorities have always reflected this trademark characteristic. Her love is powerful and simple and it spreads wherever she goes. She often understates her talents and doesn’t realize just how powerful of a person she is. I think the best people I’ve ever known to be truly great don’t fully see themselves as any better than anyone else either. Although she may not consider herself a giant of a person her pure, unwavering love stands tall and strong. When the worldly accolades for talents and refined skills fade into distant nothingness it’s her deep and abiding love that remains and is passed on to my children. I cannot think of many things as constant and steady as the love I have experienced from my mom. The kind of motherly love she is capable of is powerful too.

If her capacity to love were an x-men superpower, it would have defeated the purpose of having tension and strife in a movie because somehow she can change people at their very center and they become better people because of it. I have seen it happen all growing up as a child. When she ever came at odds with one of us kids we knew we didn’t stand a chance because at the end she would love the mess right out of us until we achieve a worthy resolution. Like her parents before her, she carries with her a bright and shining soul that is a pure example of goodness.

I am honored and lucky to have such a caring woman like her as my mother. She has invested the greater part of her life’s focus and attention in developing the kind of strong and loving relationship with each child that I think is you find only common in bedtime story books.

She always made us feel special and important. Whether it was true or not we felt like she always wanted to be with us more than she wanted to do anything else in the world. In metaphor, we kids felt like the gravitational center for which she chose to invest the majority of her life’s orbit, and we are the kind of people we are today because of it. She loved so much to be part of and experience along with us each chapter and page of our life’s story, and it made our story beautiful. We knew she invested her whole heart and soul in us. She saw us as her great purpose and a big part of her life’s meaning. We were and always will be a major source of joy in her life.

My mother is masterful at playing with children. She is as fun as the day is long, spontaneous as an adventurous toddler, and silly to boot! When you’re with her you feel her full attention. I don’t know many people in the world who can consistently give the level of quality focus as she does to each interaction. See why I feel like I won the lottery? Attention is pure gold to kids and we felt rich inside and really happy all growing up because of it.

I’m lucky because I think since she so thoroughly enjoyed being and playing with us kids it’s more natural for me to the type of mom who so easily gets caught up in all kinds of play with my kids. I now understand why I so readily become utterly and completely consumed with LOVE for and a craving to be with my beautiful children.

I like how her actions continually stood for the best of traditional family priorities. We took road trips together, played family games, and worked side-by-side on regular projects together. We played dress-up and struggled
through growing pains together. We had imaginary adventures and made messes and got dirty. We had a lot of fun.

She cooked dinners and we ate together each evening as a family. She took such good care of us. I remember that each evening we would converse at the table on what was happening in each of our lives as though we were all adults; intelligent and competent. I loved it. I now find that one of my life’s greatest pleasures is talking at a similar level with my children. I am constantly blown away at how amazing they are- they are so beautiful in their own way. I learned how to take good care of my children from her. I am so grateful because each of these are dear and precious gifts that my mom gave me.

My mom has always been full of energy. Her happiness level bubbles over and spills out onto everyone she knows like an infectious zombie plague of pure happiness. It can take over a room, a party, and it definitely prevails at family outings.

Her energetic zeal for life taught me to drink deeply from what life has to offer, that there is so much to live for and be excited about, and that it’s okay to get gitty about even the dumb little things because really it’s the accumulation of those little things that add up to made the whole of one’s life. She walks with an inward and outward heart of continual gratitude and does her best to pass it on. She’s a sucker for fundraisers and humanitarian aid. She believes we are to be grateful for all things and make the most of what we have. She taught me though example how to live a happy life and I remember learning this from her at an early age. That outlook is foundational to who I am now as a woman, wife, and mother of two cute littlens.

She has achieved such success in building valued relationships with each of us that now that we have families of our own we all seem to want to live close by her now. All her sons and her daughter chose to live within about 10 minutes from her up until this year. We all honor her and feel lucky and blessed because of her. In short she has a talent for making our lives and the lives of her grandkids better.

My mother has hilarious quirks. She is often humming or found singing quietly to herself. She’ll even pick up any song of your choice if you start humming or singing it and then a few seconds after you stop you’ll hear it coming from her. I think it’s because her heart seems to always sing inside and she just can’t help herself. She has a real terror for spiders and is as good at hating them as she is good at loving her kids. I mean that quite literally- she has an eternal detestation and passionate abhorrence against anything that can remotely resemble a small eight legged insect. This said she is also an easy one to scare even and especially if you don’t mean to scare her. I remember as a little girl how I would try to walk so silently past the bathroom so as to not scare her that when she would come out it would scare her just the same. We all enjoy this funny quirk of hers- especially my son Noah since at the moment we are living in her basement in transition for my husband’s graduate school. Noah has learned how great fun it is to wake up early every morning and rush upstairs to scare grandma. I’m hoping she doesn’t develop high blood pressure because of it!

Mom can spell anything, she can remember every phone number even though nowadays it’s not as needed as it was when I was little, and she has essentially declared all out nuclear war on all computers and complicated electronics. Hell to her would be the eternal duty of computer server configuration tech- or adjusting the volume from the computer to the entertainment center for her daily workouts whichever would prove more difficult.

She has earned great amount of respect from me these last few years. She has proven her disciplined will to challenge presupposed workout limitations. Her stick-to-itiveness and determination drive her onward with inflicting herself to the daily punishing ringer of an intense Jillian Michaels workout. She continues despite the fact that to her it’s as though she and Jillian are struggling like gladiators against a deadly coalition of lions that want to kill her. She defeats them though and drinks her daily protein shake triumphantly. I am as proud as an entire audience of Colosseum spectators chanting their survived victor. Imagery aside, I’m proud that each day she pushes her own limitation and is a great example to me of someone willing to do what it takes to cultivate her greater potential and inner strength. I really respect that in her.

One of my favorite things about my mother is her charity—her emotions: She is so sensitive and empathetic- she usually cries when she is happy for others and when she feels bad for others. She almost never cries over her ow issues and almost never feels sorry for herself. With the myriad of countless attributes that make her a walking breathing part of heaven to be around I can see why my dad chose her.

I think I see greater strength and ability in her then she does of herself.

To adapt and edit a short line from a scripture I know she loves: “If all women were and ever would have the kind of motherly heart that my mom Sylvia has the very powers of unhappiness in people would shake forever and give way to greater joy and blessed living”- at least in the lives of their children. She’s a woman among women and in my mind the kind of fairytale mother girls hope to grow up to be like. There is so much that I admire about her and cheerfully learn from her and relish in her that she continues to this day to encourage the best that is in me. I hope to cultivate that charitable nature that I feel she so easily embodies in great abundance.

She is still today the very same mother she was to me as a child. My husband and I have lived in her home. I work full time, have two young kiddos, and a slap-happy dog and my mom continues to be extremely helpful during this crazy transitional time in our lives.

Despite work demands and the continual needs of my children I try to do most everything by myself, but my mother has helped me in far more ways that she knows. She so often cleans up after us after we destroy the cleanliness of her living space, she cooks meals and spoils the heck out of us, and she so often plays with our children and makes them feel loved, important, and special. With as crazy busy as my husband and I are at this phase of our lives we are deeply grateful and forever indebted to the beautiful and permanent impressions she is having on our kids.

In many ways, she is handing them a lottery ticket of their own because I know so personally the invaluable gift of that love she freely and so masterfully offers them. In this and so many other ways, she practices Christ-like love and charity. She has qualities that would bring villages together, and no doubt would have if she had lived in primitive days.

My parents are great leaders in bringing people into their home at times when people need it and loving and caring for them as if they belonged and were part of the family. They have chosen to make their home a refuge for anyone against the storms of life. All during my grade school years I remember them welcoming the friends of us kids in. For those who were fatherless or without strong family my parents would take them with us on trips, camping, and even get free labor from them. After all, if you’re part of the family you practice strong work ethic- and everyone did.

My husband’s family went through a divorce, and he has expressed to me on countless occasions how great it feels to have married into a unified and strong family. He has grown to love and know them and see them in very much the same way I do.

We love their goodness and inclusive natures. They are pillars of strength amid the oft-tempestuous storm of life. Their ability to support our family in their home has made it possible for my husband to obtain high grades, healthcare experience, and ultimately qualified for his acceptance to a prestigious physician assistant program. He and I believe we would not have qualified for this dream if it were not for them.

My mom’s love and concern for others is indeed greater than any X-Men superpower because it has the power to lift those around her up and place them on a higher road. If two roads diverged in a yellow wood, make sure you take the one she’s on because life is overall better with her around.

Against our best efforts to cause havoc around here, she and dad have never once made us feel like a burden in their home. Instead the make us feel so welcomed, appreciated, and even wanted- dog and all. They have loved
our children as their own, and my heart is full and even overflowing because of it. Even though my mom’s life is busy she always goes out of her way to love and share kindness, she’s remarkably helpful and service-minded, and she blesses everyone with her warm and contagious social grace.

I have grown to honor and understand my parents more than I ever have since I have witnessed their profound love for our kids. Our small family will cherish these years full of countless memories. Life is often a struggle- but
it’s a beautiful struggle. What a joy it is for our family to be so close to my beautiful parents during this time of our lives. My parents’ bond with our children is beautiful. My heart breaks knowing that our kids and they will soon be parted by the distance of over 2000 miles since we will be living in Philadelphia for P.A. School. I know it will destroy her heart for a time. Mom, I want you to know I love you. My children love you and will miss you with all their hearts.
This moment in time will always be full of color for us, precious, and even sacred.

Above all, I love my mom. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

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