Monday, January 17, 2011

For My Mama's Birthday, Five Days Late

Since I have become a mama myself, I am often confused, late, forgetful. And so I was last week for my own Mom's birthday. At the beginning of the week, I thought to myself, "I know my Mom's birthday is soon and I can't forget it AGAIN." You see, last year she was staying at our house on her birthday, and she (gently) informed us that it was her birthday on that day. I had just given birth to Silas a few weeks before, so I had an excuse of sorts, but it was still kind of humbling. So at the beginning of last week I went onto Facebook to try to figure out my own mother's birthday. Such is the life of the confused modern mom.

But my mom hadn't listed her birthday on Facebook--way to go being cautious on Facebook, Mom!--so I resolved to call her. But I forgot. And so I put in a panicked call on Friday, only to find out that her birthday had been the day before. Of course, she was most gracious, informing me that it was "perfect" that I call her on that day since she was celebrating with her friends later that afternoon, and that it didn't matter that I didn't send her anything since my call was the best gift in the world. So sweet.

This is all a long and rambling introduction to the real blog post for today: my letter to my mom, with which I intend to supplement the "perfect gift" of last week's phone call.

Dear Mom,

Happy Birthday! I know that you often mention your shortcomings as a mom, that you didn't stand up for us when Dad was overreacting, that you didn't give us music lessons, that you yelled too much. But honestly, I don't remember any of those things.

I remember that you laughed a lot with us. I remember lying in bed with you one night that Dad was out of town and laughing hysterically at some nonsense that I now don't understand: a "mole hut." I was laughing so much, and you just laughed along with me, even though you didn't understand and it was late. You didn't do what I would likely do with my boys now, and say "That is ENOUGH! Go to sleep or you will need to go to your own bed!"

Your humor is earthy and perfect for children--and immature adults like myself. I have always loved that you could laugh at a good poop joke. I remember going camping with you and singing the diarrhea song. That was when I was, ahem, in college. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Although you are probably blushing at that last paragraph, and although some people might describe you as quiet--you were named "most shy" in your yearbook, after all--you are very brave in many ways. This is perhaps superficial, but I will never forget the camping trip (the same one where we sang the song) when you jumped off the dam into the lake. It was so high, and the water was so cold. I refused to jump. But I will never forget you yelling some silly word and jumping.

This letter doesn't really even begin to describe everything that I love about you, but as a mom, you will understand that I am tired and forgetful. But know this: you have influenced me in so many wonderful ways, and you are the best friend I could ever want. You have done an amazing job as a mother and as a grandmother. If I could do it as well as you have done--and are doing--I could die proud of myself. Thank you for everything.



Karyn said...

Ser, this post is just beautiful. It brought a tear to my eye and a lump to my throat. You're a wonderful daughter, mother, and friend.

Mara said...


Anonymous said...

Ser, I am so thankful to be your Mom. And so proud of you. I, too have very fond memories of those things.
PS: I am sure you have just forgotten all the nights I said, "that's ENOUGH! Go to sleep or you will go to your own bed!" What a blessing that we remember the good things and forget the bad. You are an awesome daughter and I can't think of a nicer gift. Thank you. Love, Mom

so yung wilson said...

I'm intruding on this lovely conservation.

I think it is obvious to anyone who knows you Ser, and you too Mara, that Jane is a wonderful mother.

Ser, your home has always felt warm and welcoming, and after visiting your parents' home in Alaska, I witnessed with pleasure that you had good training. Warm, welcoming homes come only from warm, welcoming people. Giving and generous and inviting ... good things to pass down. An appreciation for potty humor is icing on the cake.