It's my mother's birthday today. She's an extraordinary woman, not for the large things she's done (not that she was a slouch in her career--far from it), but one of those unsung heroes who concentrate on the small. As in: knitting baby blankets for her neighbors who are expecting; carrying dog treats at all times because you never know when you're going to meet a dog; having the new widow over for dinner; that sort of thing. It's not large stuff, but as you age you realize that small things sometimes aren't so small, you know? My parents have become the majordomos of the small cul-de-sac that they live on, the people that the neighbors come to when there's a problem. Why? Because people know that they care.
When I was younger I believed I had it covered; I didn't need anyone to watch my "back." And I grew older and realized that, no, it's not covered and perhaps it was never covered and, god, do I have a bulls-eye or something because I keep getting hit with metaphorical arrows. Mom's always there with whatever emotional band-aids she's got in her "mother" arsenal, patching me up and sending me out into the world as "healed" as possible.
I've entered a point in my life where my friends' parents are dying. My father died a couple of years ago, and while I mourn him, I mourn the person he wanted to be, not the person he was. That's easy mourning because that person isn't real. With my mother, it will be bone-marrow deep mourning because she's really pretty goddamn perfect as a mother. Not that she's perfect as a person, but she's a phenomenal mother.
So hat's off, Mom, because words really are inadequate to express how much I love and admire you.