Some of my favorite memories are the hours and hours we spent in the car together- just me and her- as she carted me off to my gymnastics lessons or my softball games or my choir rehearsals. We would blast the country radio station and sing our hearts out... just like the Judds! The Judds with a smidgen more oomph!
She taught me to harmonize, to find what wasn't there and fill it up with my voice. She was the one who had an ear open to hear my budding vocal chords belting out hymns as I stood on the chairs at church and reveled in the freedom of a whole group of people joining in song.
She was the one who told me my voice was something special... who believed in me and whom I still think of with gratitude to this day every single time I open my mouth to sing.
My mother is the bravest woman I know. She loved her children enough to let them experience life with a freedom not many get to experience. I always felt that she trusted me, because she allowed me to make my own decisions about things and she never stifled me in any area I desired to explore or tough decision I needed to make. She supported me with her wise counsel, and then had the bravery to step back and allow me to fight my way through situations so that I could discover who I really was.
Yet somehow I always knew that she was there to catch me if I fell... to fight alongside me if the battle got too rough.
My mother is cute. And also adorable. Oh, and I forgot to mention, darling.
On that fateful day four years ago, when my own child filled his lungs with the air of this earth for the very first time, my relationship with my mother was forever changed. Suddenly, we were business associates. Mothers alike. Same job descriptions, different levels of experience. (I was the pimply trainee holding the mop.)
All of the hard work and tears she'd poured into raising me well were to now be poured into the next generation. Her hard work would be multiplied and magnified- the foundation upon which the lives of her grandchildren would be built.
She is fiercely intelligent and willing to take big risks in life. She trusts her gut instincts, and this is probably the biggest gift she has given me: She has taught me to do the same.
She has taught me to trust the small voice inside of me and value the inklings of my heart.
I would be nowhere that I am today if I had not seen my mother living this way and desired to follow suit.
Dearest MoMar, I will never be able to wrap words around what you mean to me and my family. You have been a faithful mother to me and my brothers, and I know that your dedication to that job will be rewarded 100 fold someday- either in this lifetime or the next.
Thank you for pouring yourself out for me. I promise to do the same for my children, too. And thank you for embracing my husband as if he were a son, it blesses me more than I can say.
You will never know the extent of the effect that you've had on this world through parenting your children well, but I know that it will be huge.
Just look at these cute little buds already sprouting in the soil!
We love you so very, VERY much.