2. The tongue has the power of life and death. As I came into my own as an adult I started to notice adults are not much different from high schoolers when it comes to how they speak of others. But my mom has never been in that category. I have never, NEVER heard her utter an unkind word about a family member (even her in-laws!) Until my early twenties I didn't even notice that all moms weren't like her. Her friends are not a topic of discussion unless she's telling me something wonderful about them or making plans. She brings life to our family through her words.
3. Drink more water. Growing up, whenever my sister or I would approach Mom with an ailment or affliction, almost without fail her response was, "Go drink a glass of water." We would huff and roll our eyes, but 95% of the time it did the trick.
4. You'll never regret re-applying lipstick before a picture is taken. I berate myself often for forgetting to do this.
5. It's likely your children will not appreciate the sacrifices you make for them - and that's ok. When my sister and I were young, our family never lived closer than 3 hours away from hers. And we were only that close for a few years. We moved frequently and most often it took a flight plus a few hours of driving to reach her own family. I never appreciated that growing up. Ever. She had two babies 22 months apart and was never able to call her mom or sisters over when she just wanted adult conversation, or needed to go to the grocery store alone. But I never felt like a burden and she never took her load out on me or my sister. So hey - it's a bit belated, but thank you Mom. I recognize how much you set aside to stay-at-home with us and live that transient lifestyle.
6. Wear moisturizer and sunscreen. Her skin is FLAWLESS. At 33 I have more wrinkles than her already.
7. It's important to have your own hobbies. She's obsessed with hiking and gets out in the national parks around us often. But every couple of years she goes abroad to hike in hoity-toity locales. Brittany? Barcelona? The Cotswolds? Sign her up. She stays in 4-star hotels and feasts on fresh local fare with a group of similarly passionate hikers. She goes with or without my dad and does her thing. I love it.
8. There's no such thing as too many pairs of shoes.
9. Mom and Dad are always on the same team. I'll never forget the time my dad was presented with an opportunity to take a job overseas; I was in 8th grade at the time, my sister a well-established high schooler. We all loved the city we lived in. Had a great house, good friends, a church we felt at home in. But Dad wanted to go for it. Over dinner one night he proposed a family vote on the issue - Mom, Anna and I each had a vote but in the event of a tie, he got an additional vote. Anna and I exchanged a pleading glance with Mom - if she would side with us we could perform a coup and keep our perfect little lives intact. She looked directly at us with tears brimming on her lashes and voted with Dad. We were heartbroken and pissed off. (At 13 and 15 years old we could throw an attitude around with the best of them.) We moved to London and had a three year adventure that changed us all permanently for the better.
10. Education is a life-long pursuit. Mom would bring 3 books with her on vacation back before Kindles made this convenient. She got her Masters' degree at age 53. There has rarely been a season of her life when she was not enrolled in a Bible study. She even makes valiant attempts to figure out her iPhone before calling me.
Happy birthday Mom! You are simply one of the best people on the planet and I learn more from you every year.