The older I get, the more painfully aware I am of friends who have lost their mothers. While I may not be a mother myself, I am blessed enough to still have my mom, who will be the focus of Mother's Day for me.
I could tell you how old my mom is, but then I'd have to kill you, so I'll leave that part out. That's actually one of the things that makes Mom so special. It's not that she minds her age, but she knows that we all have preconceived notions about age that we impose on others. She's not about to let anyone do that to her. When she turned 40, she had an idea in her head of what 40 looked like, and she made up her mind then that she was going to defy that image. She's been doing it ever since.
She's been Nana for the last 36 years, and now that she has become a great-grandmother, she'll still be Nana. No Grandma or heaven-forbid, Great-Grandma business for my mom. My 30-something nephews tell people about the movies they've seen with her and no one can believe anyone has such a cool Nana.
While most of Mom's peers show their age in their fashion choices, Mom's still wearing shoes that would make Carrie Bradshaw drool with envy. (When she cleans out her closet, my sister, my niece, and I line up to try on the shoes destined for the resale shop as though we were Cinderella trying on the glass slipper. "Oh, they're so cute, please let them fit!") While many women she knows need their husbands to drive them to the mall, my mom recently organized a road trip on which she drove 3 friends to Branson.
Mom was married for most of her adult life, but she has also been single for significant periods. She was single for 13 years following her divorce from my dad, and she has been widowed for the last 8 years. At no point has Mom ever been needy, or acted as though she needed another person to make her feel whole. No one could have been a better role model for my sister and me.
There were tremendous challenges following the divorce, not the least was losing everything in a fire...with no insurance. She dealt with that, just as she has dealt with every other challenge in her life, with faith.
Only a month after my stepfather died, she had a hip replacement and recovered with a speed that astonished even the doctor. It didn't surprise her children though, because we have seen Mom's faith and determination all of our lives. It's that faith and determination, along with the defiance of stereotypes about age, that have been Mom's greatest gifts to her children and grandchildren.
Thank you, Mom, and Happy Mother's Day!