For My Mom

me, mom, and Patty (1969)
Dear Jenny,
"Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is you-er than you." ~ Dr. Seuss
I always knew you would be a great Mommy... We are so proud of you!
Happy Mother of Lila and AJ Day! (which is Everyday). I love that you were my baby. Love, Mom XO
These words are from my mom, written in her dainty cursive swirls and displayed alongside a heart-shaped baby photo of me that was taped to the inside of my Mother's Day card this year. I think it's all so beautiful, as is she.

I've tried for about an hour now to write about her, but each time I completed a paragraph or two, I slowly but surely backspaced over the entire lot. There's just too much to cover. I will say this, however: My mom gets it. She gets what's important in life, and that's family, friendships, and being there for who you love. She has always been 100% present for us. She loved, and loves, being a mom, and I can see it in just that silly lil' photo above. A moment captured in time that defines my entire childhood.

[Side note on that photo: I love that my dad's knee makes an appearance. I love that the photo says so damn much without trying too hard. The photos from way back when are more honest, I think, than the ones we see these days. No Photoshop, no posing, no perfectly mismatched outfits, no editing. Just real, raw moments captured in tiny 2" x 2" squares. Just my dad taking a quick picture of his three crazy girls. I am learning so much from old family snapshots. What matters in photography, for sure... And in life.]

My mom has given me love so that I can share it. She's instilled in me confidence in myself so that I could be independent and move forward to make beautiful mistakes on my very own. She loves life and her family, always errs on the side of silly, and never gets caught up in drama. She believes in the power of women and she loves her husband desperately. She never wears nude pantyhose. She definitely gets it.

My mom has always maintained the importance of "celestial oneness" (her term). She taught us from Day One that "Whales are our brothers" (to which Lila has since added, "...and sisters"). She dances to the Rolling Stones, passionately screams at the television set during Red Sox games, and is a regular at my niece's swim meets and nephew's basketball games. She's young at heart and timeless all at once.

I love that I've always been allowed to be me. Thank you for that, Mom. Thank you for letting me find out on my own who I am, and for embracing every step of the process. I have a sneaking suspicion that, had I turned out to be a Harley-riding foot fetishist with fourteen tats and a mustachioed friend named Barbara, my mom would be visiting me and my hog in Daytona Beach next weekend, bearing OPI's newest line, sporting "I 'heart' Rodney" ink, and offering up Nair for Barbara. Definitely bringing Nair for Barbara.

Anne Virginia Carlisle Church, I love you so much. You show me every day how to be a better mom. You embrace the imperfect and you love with everything you have. You love to laugh and your heart is huge. You are my inspiration.

I love that I was your baby.

Comments

Kelly said…
Now I know why you're so awesome...because your mom is too! I love knowing her through your eyes! xoxo

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