My mother and younger brother at a pre-graduation ceremony in Atlanta, GA
She loves the wide open spaces of the Midwest. Growing up in Iowa, her current house in Nebraska is filled with paintings and portraits of vast fields, hills dotted with cows, and red barns peeking over the horizon. The calmness of the plains speaks to her in between sessions of hectic work schedules and daily chores.
She’s devoted her life to serving those who cannot grasp to this life alone, and she does it with warmth, passion, and without asking for much in return. People take the time to reach out to me to let me know the impact she’s had on their or a family member’s life. I take the time to respond with a simple, “I know, she’s my mom.”
She swims comfortably in the vast openness of literature, expanding her political knowledge while satisfying her urge for realistic crime fiction (a shared interest among us). Her house is filled with piles and shelves of books already read, waiting to be either read again or passed along to another eager reader.
The Beatles blast from her home stereo while giant beetles take over a metropolitan landscape in SyFy’s latest movie of the week. Her small bichon is curled in a ball next to her as they share glances and laugh at the absurdity of whichever 90’s has been was chosen to battle the CGI insects.
My sister and mother (along with my niece) at a family event
She’s raised a mother of her own. My sister enters a room, and immediately those in it feel a presence of warmth and lightness. Her kindness makes her role as Director one much revered and respected, while her humor and self-awareness make her a force to compete with in the world of advertising and hilarious e-mails.
I know her best as my older sister who put up with our cruel tactics as three brothers attempting to find the breaking point of another species: girls. She paved her own path while living in a world of joy, fun, and close friendships. Her friends call her rare, and they are by her side at a moment’s notice.
She strengthened our family when she and her husband, my brother, brought their daughter into this world. As a mother she’s caring, understanding, and allows her daughter to explore the same world that she once found herself exploring. Her daughter is just as hilarious and sweet as my sister, and I find myself missing them every movement of every day.
My grandmother with my mother at an event
Needless to say, my grandmother has raised two mothers of her own. I remember summers as a child spending weeks with my grandparents in their home in eastern Nebraska. My grandfather would take us fishing and my grandmother would show us the complexities of home cooking. To this day, when I think of good food, her mashed potatoes and holiday desserts are hard to beat.
Her birthday cards each year are written with elegance and curves as she explains the passing of time in her hometown and wishes good thoughts upon us. The comfort and love that come from receiving her letters are hard to explain but not expressed enough. They are everything and loved so much.
I’m fortunate to have these women in my life. While in Mozambique, their wisdom and humor fill my days through quick chats or sent photos. Their lives are about balance, but they do it with grace, and I will forever live to find the same amount of drive and passion for life.
Happy Mother’s Day, my mothers.