Happy Birthday, Mom

 

This post may be excessively corny or uninteresting to those who don’t know her, but today is July 13, 2013 (for those of you that don’t know).  And that means today is my mom’s birthday.

 

Because this one is for my mom’s birthday, I don’t think I’ll go on and on about it, but if you knew me growing up, you know that I was (and still can be) the definition of ungrateful.  So I think that is worthy of a post later on.  I’ve heard many a-twenty-something-year-old woman wistfully regret how she has treated her mother.  So maybe later I could talk about what to do with those regrets and the age-old question of whether there is anything we can say to our teenage sisters.

 

But today is July 13, 2013.  It is the only time my mom will ever have this birthday, and there is never any guarantee that any of us are granted out next.  

 

Today is my mother’s birthday so on this day I want to write about my mom–not about myself using her as a lens.

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I feel about my mom like I hope you feel about yours; she deserves to be in a Mom Hall of Fame.  My mom has been a mother for more than thirty years.  More than thirty years of very little gratification for very large sacrifices.  More than thirty years of tough decisions that outsiders may never come to understand or agree with.  Decisions that not only affected her but myself, my four siblings, our step-siblings, and step-father but my mother’s friends, family, and community.  Oh, yeah.  My mother doesn’t keep to herself.  

 

My mother’s wisdom did not come lightly, and I pray for you, people who know my mother, do not take it for granted.  

 

See, my mother made many a tough decision since I have been born and surely before that. In our lives, we all have a sea of commentators and an audience of spectators.

 

But there is one decision my mother made that astounds me to this day.  My mother chose joy.  Lord knows, she didn’t always choose peace, the easy or expected way.  No, my mother picked joy as the companion for all her days.  And everyone who has ever met her was marked by that outstanding, remarkable joy.

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My mother has a laugh for every occasion.  She has a drive that is electric.  It is the drive to pick yourself up and keep going.  It is the drive to get out of bed and start on adventures.  It is the drive to see if you can kick the ceiling fan, for the Good Lord knows what reason.  It is the drive to never be down long enough to be convinced that all you can do is stay down.

 

My mom brings her smile and her way of sneaking to garage sales and thrift shops wherever she goes.  She brings her vast knowledge of every nursery song there is everywhere she goes.  Her positivity is undefeated–not because she never has negative thoughts but because she has never let them take away from her ever-pervading ever-sustaining joy.  It is a joy that changes the air around her and brings the party wherever she goes.

She is always on the go, always has a plan–even if it is just to browse the deals at thrift shops, clean the living room, or take a hike on a nice Sunday afternoon.  My mom breathes joy into life, and she does it as if it were easy.

 

As if.  As the now grown and married daughter of a woman who has the ability breathe joy and life into a room, I have learned that my mother makes this gift this choice look deceivingly easy.  And it is not.  It is a constant choice, one that always has to be made and can be overturned if at any point we convince ourselves that circumstances or other people have stolen our ability to choose joy.  Joy snuffers.  

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I know I can be one.  And that is why I feel so graced to have had the privilege to watch my mother live her life distributing joy to even the undeserving.  Being a true friend to those who she knows would not return the favor.  My mom is a life-giver, a joy-bringer, an honored soldier in the battle over smiles.  

 

My mother has something to teach everyone, but she lives out her lessons.  And she will make you stop in awe and wonder.

 

How such a woman could kick a ceiling fan.  Or laugh when there seems to be nothing in the world worth laughing at.  

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She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy… She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” Proverbs 31: 20, 25

 

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