I grew up as an only child in a single-parent household. My mother always treated me as a companion, a partner in crime. I never had a curfew, or a bed time. We fought as any mother and daughter would, but we argued on an equal playing field where differences were settled through compromise, not punishment. She respected my judgement, trusted in my choices and I became a better person for it. I learned to see myself as responsible and able from an early age. As a teen, I trusted in my abilities, took pride in my accomplishments and grew more confident and more independent.
My mother is phenomenal. She is the first person I call with good news, bad news or no news at all. I typically avoid the telephone at all costs, but I make exceptions for her and our standing 5 o’clock gab fest. My mom is the most fun-loving individual I’ve ever met. The world is her playground. She thinks nothing of what others think of her, and only of what she can do for others. She is not only supportive and encouraging, but demonstrative in her enthusiasm. She is beautiful. I can receive no greater compliment than someone exclaiming I look just like my mother. She is brilliant. Her gift for memorization and her perpetual desire to learn are attributes I desperately hope I inherited but are merely lying dormant –perhaps they’ll emerge with age? She is a natural with children and animals alike. They can’t help but be drawn to her when they see their own childlike wonder and energy reflected. She laughs with abandon, sometimes unable to stop before she wets her pants –no, actually not even then.
My mother is my role model in life and in love. I could wish for no more for myself than to be as loved and successful as she. Her beliefs are stong and her relationships are stronger. She takes herself so lightly that I could turn green with envy. If there is any one thing that would set us apart it would be that: while I am serious and sarcastic, she is care-free and honest. Black and white. Yin and Yang. Mother and daughter.
Bronzed and pasty?
Earlier this week she sent me the following email for no other reason than because it was a gorgeous, sunny Tuesday afternoon:
I celebrate your individuality, your unique footprint. I have always felt that you were a bit eccentric, but you force me to remember that eccentricity is a form of genius. I take so much phantom pride in all of your achievements. I am not surprised though, because I remember how you were about learning new things, especially in the physical realm. I recall you learning to jump rope and ride a bike. You were tenacious, you never gave up. You always proceeded as though you had something to prove only to yourself, not to any one else. “I’m not stopping until I can do it like you!” This you said on the back porch at the T Street house as you were trying to jump rope for 5 hours straight! No question that you would be able to do it by the end of the evening!
That is the way you are, once you set your aspirations. I have no doubt you can accomplish anything! There are no limits with you. Anyone who can WALK for over 3 hours has my admiration. You have all that and all of my love.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because THIS is why I run. This is why I challenge myself. Her encouragement and love is the driving force behind the person I have become. She says that she’s in awe of me and my achievements, but she is the one who put it all in motion and I owe it all to her. She deserves a very public thank you.
I love you, Ma.