My mom. I see so much of Hannah in her face.
My mom grew up as an "army brat" and moved many, many times throughout her childhood including places like Germany and Okinawa. Moving so much made her very close to her five siblings. My mom was quiet, loved to read, played paper dolls with her sister, Lindell, helped take care of her four younger brothers, and was smart enough to skip the third grade, going straight into fourth!
My mom celebrating an earlier birthday with her sister, brother and friends.
My mom is on the front row in the center, her sister is in the back row on the far left and her brother Paul is the only boy in the picture!
Many years and many birthdays later, my mom met my dad while attending college in Norman, Oklahoma. They fell in love and married in February of 1970. Seven years later, after battling and beating cancer, I was born. She always said I was the best gift she ever received. I think being born to the parents God gave me was an incredible gift to me.
My mom and me
For the next 34 years, my mother loved, cared for, disciplined, and encouraged me. She spent quality time with me, she taught me, she played with me, and she read to me. She worked hard, didn't complain, and always managed to smile her beautiful smile. During my teenage years, she waited up for me after I had been out with my friends. She listened to me and we laughed together. She gave advice, but didn't nag. We played games together, shopped together and could talk for hours about anything and everything.
Me and mom during my college years.
A special moment at my wedding.
My mom and I just three years ago at her 60th birthday party.
And then in 2004 and again in 2009, my mom became a Grandma! She was so thrilled to step into that role. She was with me at all of my children's births. She held them each so tenderly and loved them as deeply as I did. She enjoyed being a part of their lives, even making each child a special book in which she wrote love letters to them. My kids adored their Grandma. Leah always called my mom her "best buddy."
Grandma and PaPa at the girls' Pre-K Christmas presentation
Grandma holding Lucas just days after his birth.
So today, on my mom's birthday, as much as I wish I could celebrate with her and give her a gift, I instead accept the gift. The gift of the many memories I have with her. The gift of the loving example she set for me. And the gift of her incredible legacy I can pass on to my own children.
So thank you, Mom. For being a gift to me.
When we see each other in heaven one day, we can celebrate again.