It is your birthday today and somehow another year flew by undetected. The years are tricky that way, especially now that I am an adult. Because of the busyness, the goals, the tasks, the mess, and the life, it often seems that the years disappear before they even truly begin. Was it always that way? Has it been that way for you too?
For as long as I can remember, you have spent your life for others. You lived fully for those closest in your circle, for the littles around your feet and in your lap. You birthed us, served us, fed us, brushed our hair, watched us play ball, drove us on adventures, cooked for us, cleaned for us, shaded our eyes with your hand in the sun, gave us the last bite of your favorite foods, held us when everything fell apart. You spent your time with us. Your years. Your decades. Spent freely and extravagantly on us. How can I possibly thank you for such a deep, wonderful love?
The truth is, it is your birthday today and if I could make a wish, I would wish that I spent more time paying attention. My childhood years were self-centered and singularly focused, a blur of adolescent wants and needs, of unrealistic expectations and a chorus of, "Mom, look at me! Mom, watch ME! Mom, why can't I go? Do I have to do that?" I wish I would have looked. I wish I would have paid attention.
Sometimes I wish we could have been contemporaries, that we could have grown up alongside one another. I wish I could have been with you when you learned hopscotch or jacks... when you bickered with your sisters and then resolved it... when you rode with Grandpa in the pickup or helped Grandma in the kitchen. I wish I could have seen you as a young woman flirting with Dad and trying to make him jealous. I wish we could have giggled and gossiped and stayed up all night talking about our lives. I bet you would have been a great best friend... one who laughed easily and quickly... who kept secrets well and cheered on the friends around you.
I believe that, because you did such a good job of these things as my mother.
So, for your birthday, I want to say thank you for being my best friend, Mom...
even when I wasn't looking.