(Note: Going off the racing grid on this one. Hope everyone understands!)
This is my mom.
My mom is truly the matriarch of my family. She turns 75 in June, has five children, 18 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren (two of which just arrived this past week). How she finds time for all of us I have no idea, but somehow she is able to do it.
Here are a few things that make my mom awesome.
1) Her favorite word is "lovely". As in, "I went to dinner with some friends and had a lovely time". That pretty much describes her outlook on life too.
2) She is probably the best athlete in my family, and that includes one sister who was a good sprinter and softball player, my brother who is a golf pro and me. I won't go into my athletic exploits, don't want to brag! All I know is that even in high school she could kill me (and my dad) on the tennis court, and had she been born 50 years later, I am convinced she would have been a Division I athlete in some sport or another. Did I mention when she was a kid she won a speed skating competition too? She also twirled a pretty mean baton, so I'm told.
3) I get my writing talent from my mom. Her abilities in that area are vastly underrated and she is an outstanding storyteller.
4) She is supportive of others, and gives of herself fully. Whatever it is, she is behind us all 100 percent. Once when she was here on a visit I was in the midst of marathon training and she hopped on a bike and rode with me on a 14-mile run. She was 71 at the time, she rode the entire way in 80 degree heat. She has also gotten up at 4 a.m. to come watch me run races.
5) My mom has a quiet determination. When she puts her mind to something, she does it. My mom started taking classes through Ivy Tech in her mid-60s and earned an associate's degree while sporting a 4.0 GPA. That was also about the time she became a massage therapist too, a service she puts to use in her retirement community in Florida, where she lives part of the year.
6) Her personal faith is unyielding. I am a proud Catholic but where I am in my life and where she is in hers are two different places. When my sister Joni passed away back in December, she kneeled and prayed in front of her casket and the final words of her prayer were: "As her mother, I now return her to you." A powerful statement of faith. I'll admit it, I'm still mad at God for taking my sister...she isn't, and never was.
7) She buys Christmas presents for everyone. How a woman on a fixed income buys presents for more than 50 people is beyond me.
8) My mom sees the good in everyone, and treats everyone with kindness and compassion.
9) She reads every story that I write.
10) My mom is one of my best friends. I've hit more than a few bumps in the road over the last several years, and she has been with me every step of the way. I couldn't ask for anything more.
So there it is, a little on the person who has been with me since the beginning. An amazing woman who I love and respect more and more every day. I think we all have one person in our lives that we all strive to be like, and for me that is my mom. I'm thankful for her love and support.