Today, my mom turns 70.
It's really just in these latter years that I am finally able to see and feel the grand fabric of our stories that have been woven together, like a single tapestry that holds all the threads of our relationship as mother and daughter; as two moms with very different birth stories, as daughters with our own mother wounds, as separate yet deeply connected women, as soul mates who somehow found one another other across oceans of hope and loss and love, one needing a home and the other needing a child.
All of it is stitched together. The tiny miracles, the heartbroken and wonder-filled, messy and imperfect.
Every year I think I see her more clearly. Time reveals, perspective broadens and evolves, and more stories rise to the surface.
She has always been a warrior woman, middle child, rebel soul, Gemini spirit, but I can now feel how tender her heart truly is in a way I never could as a young girl. I see beneath her fierce exterior, the soft and fleshy parts of her sentimentality and love.
I know what a devoted partner she is to my father, through all the years of triumphant celebrations and especially the ones spent fighting for life.
Every moment deserves a party, she taught me. Live now. All the joy.
I see the fierce love she has for my boys as their "candy" Nana. I know how they see her, because I saw my Nana the same exact way. Part Fairy Godmother, part superhero, and all heart and the softest place to land. It was one gift I had wished for my kids long before ever becoming a mother, to be awash in the kind of love only a grandmother can sprinkle on. It's why I never moved too far away.
Hold your family close. Life is so much sweeter together. We need one another.
I know what a fun and loyal friend she has always been, over hours of coffee and Virginia Slims, inside circles of show tune sing-a-longs and backyard barbecues, and in adventuring together to far away places despite her fear of flying.
Never let your fear hold you back. Explore with abandon. An experience is always far more valuable than something you can hold in your hand.
And as a mother, as her daughter, I profoundly understand that although our story is not born of flesh and blood, the language of mothers is still the same.... a deep and abiding, bone and marrow, unconditional ocean of love. She taught me that language.
My mom has shaped my world in countless, significant, and beautiful ways. Even in our struggles to fully know one another as individual human beings, she has been the greatest teacher in my life. Even now, I feel the safe womb of her warrior heart every single day.
Happy Birthday, Mom.
For every wish that has come true, and for all the wishes yet to come!
I see you. I love you. I honor you. Most of all, I am so grateful and so proud to be your daughter.