Today is my mom’s birthday.
And because it falls on the edge of the holiday season, her birthday is often less of a spectacle, hastily remembered, and often underappreciated.
Which, in a way I guess, makes sense.
As a child, like most children, I took mom for granted. I just assumed she would always be there. There to make dinner and do the laundry and help me with the science project and take me to the mall when I needed shoes.
I see now, with my own children, the way they dog my wife, pepper her with questions, assume she will take care of everything and it has occurred to me that the job of mom is often poorly funded and severely under paid.
My mom gifted the planet with 3 sons.
Being the only girl in a house of boys, mom, unfortunately, became all too familiar with the art of upright toilet seats and vomiting hampers. She was also an easy target for general ribbing. But she always took care of us, and in the breathtaking-speed of life, sometimes we didn’t appreciate her as much as we should have.
Then, out of nowhere, I met a girl, moved out, got married. And it wasn’t until I became a parent myself that I realized the depth of a mother’s love.
When you’re a mother, you love your children more than they love themselves.
I first got sick when I was 33 and mom insisted on going to doctor’s appointments with me. I’ll admit– it was a bit embarrassing. I was a grown man. Had three children of my own. I could take care of myself.
5 years later, mom still goes to my appointments with me however, I’ve come to honor her company.
Sometimes in the waiting room we talk about the banalities of life. About my own children, her grandchildren. And sometimes we just sit next to each other, a boy and his mom, quietly waiting our turn.
I have written a lot about how my health issues have affected me. But I have written embarrassingly little about how my health issues have affected mom.
Because I know that they have–in a deep, very real way. A way I can’t quite access.
I know, in the private hours of life, she thinks about me. Worries about my health. Hopes I’m following doctor’s orders. That I’m eating well and making good choices.
Because a parent’s empathy for their children is something that children only understand when they became parents themselves.
My mom is constitutional in my life.
She is elemental to me as a father, teacher, and writer and her empathy and love and resilience and toughness are things I finally appreciate and are bedrock for the man I hope to one day become.
Thanks mom and Happy Birthday!