Sunday, April 23, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday...You may think you have a good mom, but my mom will trump her in almost any category...and since today is her birthday, we'll just take out the 'almost' and say, Any Category. She rocks. She was a single mom, who somehow managed to take care of two young children, go to school (Berkeley), and work to support us. She moved us up to Alaska when she was but 27 years old, still single, living out in the woods on a homestead with no running water and no telephone. She worked so hard to get us whatever we needed when we were growing up...I'm not talking about the popular jeans, the fancy shoes, that kind of thing. I'm talking about how my brother hated school, and she did everything she could think of to make school enjoyable for him. She put us in a fun yet fruity private school, she homeschooled us, she tried everything possible. She taught us at a young age to think for ourselves. We had a clothing allowance, so that we REALLY understood the cost of those fancy jeans...that in order to have one pair of fancy jeans, we had to give up 4 other pairs of pants and a few tops in addition. She taught us to cook, and we had to cook two nights a week. That included planning the meal, and figuring out what we needed for ingredients, all of that. When we moved out, we had SOME idea of the value of money, and we knew how to cook. At least a few things.

She taught us the value of education, that learning is more imporatant than grades. At my high school, we had the honors classes and the regular classes...I was smart enough that the regular classes were boring, but the honors classes were a bit too hard. Most parents would have encouraged me to take the regular classes, so I could have a higher GPA. She encouraged me to take the classes that challenged me, to do what I wanted to do. Had I wanted to take the easier classes, she would have praised me for being practical. Because I stayed in the harder classes, she praised me for wanting to learn. She always supported us in everything we did (except my brother's brief stint in the army, and if he had been happy there, if it handn't been the WORST place on earth for him, she would have supported him there, too.) There was never a day in my life when I questioned that she approved of me, approved of my (almost) every move, that she loved us unconditionally.

She taught us a lot about raising kids. She taught us by example. When we would hit, she would say, "People are not for hitting". We were not spanked, we were not sent to time out, we were not berated or made to feel ashamed for who we were. We were definately disciplined. We were taught "Logical Consequences" (sometimes I would have preferred a spanking, because it would have been OVER). She taught us so many things about how to live and love your family, to support each other and be kind to each other.

She has lived a life to be proud of...a life where she hasn't exactly been successful in terms of money, but she has been successful in so many other areas. She has worked for (still does) organizations work to help children, from her early days teaching Montessori School, to teaching parenting classes, working to prevent child abuse, and currently, working to reduce teen alcoholism. She is a kind, giving, wonderful person. I am so proud of her. I love her. I could have said so much more...but there are only 24 hours in a day, and I wouldn't really know where to all I will say is, my Mom rocks. Best. Mom. Ever. (She still drives me nuts sometimes, but that's part of the job description).

I love you, Mom. Happy Birthday!

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