Actually, growing up I called her “Maude.” Now I call her “Mommy” a lot too.
I am ridiculously lucky to have her in my life, and around the corner, and so much a part of my day-to-day life.
But really, everyone in her life is lucky to have her. She is THE person you want on your team, in your corner, on your side.
She is a cheerleader, a confidante, an advisor, a shoulder, an advocate, and a fierce warrior for those she loves – in ways and at levels that I pray I will someday come anywhere near to achieving.
Teenage Keri was borderline awful to her – I reveled in finding ways to piss her off and defy her at times in my younger years. To this day (many MANY moons beyond being “teenage Keri,”) I will wake up out of a dead sleep remembering something crappy I did and fight the urge to call her and apologize for the jerk that girl was. (Sorry Mommy, seriously.) Time and time again she chose to see the best in me even when I was showing her only my worst. She chose to lift me up and support and empower me. (I might have chosen to lock me in my room if I was her.)
As her life-long best friend, Karen slowly lost her painful battle with cancer, my mom helped her family coordinate care. She spent days with Karen, helping her and listening to her and being next to her. I know it made her sad. I know it broke her heart. Standing with someone in the final moments of a life, is impossibly difficult. I believe it is also an honor and a God given opportunity to call upon the strength of your humanity to be a gift for someone you love as their life comes to a close. I know that belief comes solely from my observations of my Mom as she cared for Karen; and for my Grandpa, her “Daddy,” as he slipped away as well. So much of how I view life, and my role in the world, has been shaped by the way I view her in it.
There have been times of profound loss and trial in her life, some at ages younger than I can comprehend experiencing such difficulty. I know they have shaped her, creating in her heart a combination of deep, genuine empathy, and a passion to fight for those she cares for with all she can give.
It leaves me in awe.
She is warm and welcoming, funny, smart, reasonable, supportive, fiery, compassionate, no-nonsense, generous, strong, beautiful, selfless, and so loving.
And so loved.
She is the mom I pray I can be to Jr. She is the person I pray I can become.
Happy Mother’s Day, Maude. Words don’t exist for how blessed I know we are to have you.