Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Heroes

I need to just start getting out all the things I want to post about, so I'm going to start with something I've been meaning to do for a long time - write about the incredible women in my life. And no time could be more appropriate to start than today, my mother's 60th birthday.


My mother is one of those women who looks younger every year. Here's an example (scroll about 3/4 of the way down)- this was just this past summer at the beach. Who looks like this when they are 59 (without really working out on a regular basis and no surgery)? I have always thought that she is the most beautiful woman I know. When I would bring boyfriends home in college, they would look at me and say, hopefully, "is this what you're going to look like in 30 years?"

Her beauty is only surpassed by her amazing capacity to love. She gives of herself completely - to a fault. Most obvious is her commitment to her daughters. I don't have enough space available on this blog to talk about how she has sacrificed for my sister and me. And she continues to do it everyday. What people don't often see is how she gives of herself to other people. I have watched her sacrifice hours of sleep driving back and forth to the town where my grandmother lived to sit by her bed in the nursing home. When she found out that her best friend since childhood had breast cancer, she practically suspended her own life to love and support her. When one of her sisters needs help canning vegetables, preparing for one of their kids weddings, or beauty pageants or church party, or hanging new wallpaper, she drives to the town they live in and helps them. She gives generously of her time and money to those she loves and those she doesn't even know.

She is respected and admired by EVERYONE. She is the financial controller of a large automobile dealership. She has been there for 23 years and I have watched a lot of sales people, mechanics, office workers, etc. come through. Each and every one of them is absolutely terrified of her, but she is the first person they come to when they need anything - whether it is a form signed for work or marriage advice or help dealing with a co-worker or advice on what house to buy. I could make a list of women who have worked for her and consider her their second mother. She cooks them meals, loves their children, throws them parties, teaches them professionalism and self-respect and prays for them.

She is magic with children. My three year old is obsessed with her. I have seen her tame the most unruly children without ever saying a harsh word. I have seen toddlers that have no attention span sit still for the first time ever and let her read books to them. And I have seen the amazing smile on her face when she is sitting in the floor playing cars, or trains, or whatever else he has come up with, with my son.

She has an unwavering faith. We disagree on nearly everything when it comes to our Christianity, except for this - that we have a God who loves us, that each and every human being is a Child of God (even if we disagree on what exactly this means), and that God never fails us. She has spent more money than I could ever count on me and given me more presents than I could possibly remember, but the most precious is the knowledge of those truths.

She is fiercely independent. And she taught her daughters to be the same. I often remind her when she is frustrated, and sometimes even appalled at my religious, social and moral values and beliefs, that she taught us to be independent and make our own choices. She only has herself to blame and can't be upset that we chose differently than her. This characteristic is the blessing and curse she passed on to us. I can take care of myself because of her. And because of her, I sometimes refuse to let anyone else take care of me.

I have patterned my life after my mother. She wouldn't believe that today. We are at a difficult place in our relationship - where we have never been. I can't articulate it, but it has been excruciating for both of us. And there have been days in the past couple of years when I have been angry at her, but I have never lost my admiration and respect for her. And I have never, ever doubted her love for me. Not one day of 32 years - not even for a second.


I haven't posted here in forever. I have a lot going on in my mind that I could write about, but I haven't found the energy - emotionally or physically. In the meantime, I thought I would do something fun. My friend Jill, at Desperately Seeking Spawn "tagged" me. I am supposed to post 7 random facts about myself and then Tag 7 other people, so here goes:

1. I went into labor with my first child at the nail salon. I got a pedicure, had moved on to my nails and the woman told me to go wash my hands. I stood up and my water broke. And I mean BROKE. Not in a trickle, but in the dramatic way that you see on T.V. I wasn't really having contractions, so I called my husband who was bartending at the time. A bus boy answered the phone. I, quite calmly, asked to speak to Carl. He replied "There's no Jessica that works here." Puzzled, I said, "no, I'd like to speak to Carl. "There's no Jessica that works here." Now I was irritated. "I NEED TO SPEAK TO CARL. IT'S AN EMERGENCY." They tell me he dropped the phone and ran to the bar. I told Carl to meet me at the hospital. I knew I had time to drive myself and I didn't want to sit and wait on him. He agreed. The Vietnamese man who owned the nail shop, however, did not. He insisted he was driving me to the hospital, and so he did. On my way out the door I told them I would come back and pay them. They motioned me out the door and said, "don't worry about it." We pulled up at the hospital at the same time as Carl. As I was getting out of the car, I said to the nice man, out of politeness, "please let me pay you." He quickly replied, "OK, 35 dollars."

2. I was 17 years old the first time I got on an airplane. This makes me laugh since my 3 year old has flown 3 times already.

3. I spent a semester in college in Northern Ireland (Londonderry). The trip there was the 2nd time I had been on an airplane. When I left to go to Northern Ireland, I was 19 and engaged. When I returned, I was 20 and single. My fiance broke up with me over the phone just 2 weeks after I got there. Don't ask why I was engaged at 19. That's another post.

4. I have played two instruments in my life - I played the flute in the middle school band. Pretty sure I don't remember how to play. I took piano lessons for 9 years and really suck at playing the piano.

5. If God told me I could have any artistic talent, I would want to sing. Like Sheryl Crow or Alecia Keyes.

6. I sold cars for 3 months in Indianapolis after graduation from college.

7. When I was a little girl (up until I was 12 or so), when people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say, in all seriousness, "a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader."

OK, so here are the 7 (actually 4) people I tag:

1. Darah @ A Girl Named Gus
2. TAG @ Tea Worthy
3. Melissa @ Just Me
4. Dawn @ Renaissance Mama (I know we don't know each other, but I love following your blog - and you should meet my friend, Darah, above, by the way)
5. Yikes! I don't know if I know 3 other people who keep blogs and read this one. There are only 3 of you who read it to begin with! So, to be continued . . .