I won’t tell you which one, but she is still very young… especially for being a grandmother of two… in fact she’s so young she will not allow the girls to call her “grandma.” She’s Gram. And yes, she will correct them every time they ad the -ma at the end.
So honestly, what do you say about the strongest person you know? And I don’t mean that as a cliche. This is the woman who grew up the only sister to six brothers. Who never, ever let her brothers best her, and I’m sure took on a few of the neighborhood boys for good measure. This is a woman who, during a softball game at a family reunion, hit a line drive so hard that when it hit me directly on the thigh, I was literally blinded by the pain and rendered breathless while she stood over me asking why I got in the way. (That makes her sound a little bit mean, but really, I was a bonehead for trying to jump over it. I could have easily scored!). This is a woman to hit a hornet that was attacking me with a box of detergent so hard that the box broke open and sent detergent flying everywhere. This is a woman took me to our local Boys’ Club haunted house (despite that fact that she gets completely freaked in them) and used my six year old body as a shield between herself and the monster/goblin/ghost/chainsaw murder by repetedly picking me up by the coat and ordering me to “KICK ‘EM!!!” The lining was literally ripped out of my coat by the time we got through the haunted house. This is the woman who could still outrun me when I was sixteen and in my peak physical shape.
But I don’t just mean physically strong. Those are just really funny stories that I should tell you sometime. Mom has a will that is a force to be reckoned with. For her, when life gets tough, you just get out there and get it done. There are some not so funny stories that I could tell you to illustrate this, but I don’t want compromise her privacy. Suffice it to say that when the going gets tough, or she gets backed into a corner, she’ll charge through the problem, cut to the chase, like a bull in a china shop if need be. She doesn’t suffer fools, whiners, or b.s.
There are some mothers who are the soft touch, the pushovers, the ones who cry at sappy movies, who will offer a shoulder to cry on, and perhaps even shed tears of sympathy. Not my mom. She really just doesn’t have a lot of time or inclination for tolerating whining or complaining unless you have a plan for doing something about it. If you’re going to talk to her about your problems, be prepared her hear her advice…even if that wasn’t what you were looking for. She’s results oriented, so a solution, not sympathy, is what she offers as help. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m sure she feels sympathy, but that sympathy is usually communicated as, well, here’s what you need to do.
As for shedding tears of emotion, I never, ever saw her cry when I was a child. I was nineteen the first time I ever saw her cry, and it was at my grandma, her mother’s, funeral. That’s why when I saw her tears flowing at my wedding, I couldn’t even look at her. I freaked out. Mom’s crying. Years later, I thought I saw her wipe away a few tears at each of my daughter’s births. She was right there beside me both times for those extraordinary moments.
And that is essentially what I love most about Mom. Just when I think I know everything there is to know about her, I see a different side to her that was unknown to me before. She seems so straightforward, to the point, uncomplicated… but I know she feels things deeply. As frustrating as it can be that we often see things very differently, that her will and her conviction is so strong at times, that she’s not the one I can just go to and get sympathy when the big, bad world is being mean to me… my Mom is right beside me when I need her. She 100% totally has my back. I know this. But, she will give a good kick in the arse if she thinks I need it. She is strongest for me when I don’t even realize I am weak. She is extremely loyal. And that, my friends, that simply cannot be bought.
She’s a strong woman, who has raised a strong daughter, who I am positive will make sure that she has strong granddaughters. And I am so blessed to have her.
I love you, Mom! Happy Birthday!!