She might be small in stature but this woman is large in life. She is quiet by nature, always on the go, annoyingly optimistic, but never a pushover. She can be obliging but she will take you down if you walk on her freshly mopped floors. She has an adorable laugh, holds my secrets like a priest, and she showers me with undeserved compassion rather than judgement. She is my dream come true, she is my first mentor, she is my mother. I have observed her so closely through the years that sometimes I do not know where she ends and I begin. I catch myself speaking her words, words I swore I would never verbalize, and it makes me laugh. I watch my hands move in the same patterns when nervous, and on any given day I would prefer a good movie, popcorn, and soda over the social scene. I come from a house of introverts, and even though I was able to retain part of my extroverted nature, I do enjoy being alone with my thoughts. Truthfully they thought I was amalgamation gone wrong, my mom threw her Dr. Spock book in the garbage when I came along, and now she describes me as her “active” child. Love her.
I marvel at the virtue of adaptability this woman has modeled through the years. She grew up in the Bay Area, met her lifelong sweet heart on the campus of Los Gatos High School, and graduated from San Jose State with a teaching credential. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I remember the day mom and dad announced their move to the Northwest, Nancy and I were sobbing on the couch, mom was holed up in her room, and my poor dad struggled to bridge the gap. The good news is mom survived and even though it was a brutal adjustment, she preserved through the rough spots, kept her anguish to herself, and as always made the best of a difficult situation. This is my legacy and I am forever grateful she is the success story I am privileged to emulate.
In recent years, I watched my mom go to battle with the spirit of death, and with the last of her strength she held that spirit at bay for my dad. When it was time she had the grace to let him go. I see her struggling with her new status as widow but again I marvel at her resilience. There we were, three women adrift at sea, brutally detached from our beloved anchor. Nancy and I watched in horror as mom struggled in the raging water, then with unheard of strength she swam towards us, wrapped us in her arms, and we were able to form a small buoy of our own. Like Molly Brown she showed us how to survive a tragedy in the midst of her own. We will never be the same without our dad and I know this is the most difficult passage of her life. She struggles, she lapses, and she’s had to learn to do things on her own. She discovered the protection of old friends (you all know who you are and we thank you), she kept moving, and she made the courageous decision to not only live, but live well. This is one of the best gifts she has bestowed on me since the day I was born. This is a woman to love. This is my mama.