Today, April 12th, is the birthday of the loveliest woman I know, my mother. And so in her honor, and because I can’t be with her today, I wanted to celebrate her birthday with a Loveliest Things that’s all her own. Without further ado, here are the loveliest things about my mama.
1. Her support
My mom has always been my biggest fan – always and without condition. She did my hair for years as a ballerina. She bought me a pair of ice skates when I decided I wanted to become Michelle Kwan. She took me to classes and lessons and to school really far away. She is the first to read my writing, the first to call with congratulations, and always wants to know how I’m doing. Throughout my life she has been my greatest help, my greatest support, and my biggest fan. I couldn’t have done any of it without her.
2. Her favorite things
I’ve inherited so many loves from my mama. Our favorite smell is lilac, we love Washington, D.C., our favorite color is pink, and we love red wine. Europe is the most magical place on the planet and the best of our money is spent on really good dinners and on memorable adventures. I am a photographer because she was first, and because she made sure that I didn’t leave home without a good camera. My creativity is straight from her, stemming from years of going to the ballet, listening to classical music, and singing My Fair Lady at the top of our lungs. My blonde hair and blue eyes? All her. I even paint my toenails the same color as hers, every single time – usually without realizing it.
3. Her hands
My mother has extraordinary hands. Her handwriting has always astounded me in its loopy perfection and every time she takes an art class, she always comes home with a masterpiece. I grew up listening to her play the piano through the floor of my bedroom, and have lately gotten to watch her fold and kneed and chop and mix as she’s been teaching me to cook. My mother has beautiful hands, but the most beautiful thing is the beauty that they create.
4. Her love
I don’t know a person in the world who loves more than my mother. She’s the kind of person that can be sitting on a bench, and then be the recipient of a person’s entire life story. She makes friends wherever she goes, and takes care of her friends, my sister and I, and my dad, with more love than I can even understand. She loves better and harder and with more tenderness and purity than anyone I’ve ever met. I am the woman I am today because of her love. I couldn’t be more grateful.
5. Her positivity
Due to a complex set of circumstances, my mom has spent the last 6 years in immense amounts of pain. She’s been to every doctor she could find and has tried all kinds of treatments trying to get rid of her chronic pain. Although some of it has gotten better, there are still times when she’s unable to sit or stand or walk because of her pain. It has taken away lots of the things she’s always loved to do. Through it all though, I’ve seen an incredible strength in my mother. She hasn’t given up on finding a cure, not once. And in the meantime, she hasn’t stopped living. She goes to lunches with friends, takes my dog on walks, and is involved in a million projects that need her special touch. She has continued to laugh, continued to love, and continued to live. It’s been an incredible thing to witness.
Happy birthday mama. I love you!