I wasn’t there when you came into the world yet I know it was a joyous occasion. You were the living embodiment of my grandmother’s second chance at love. You were her baby girl, and although she didn’t have much to give you materially, you were showered with love; for that I am grateful. Why? It made you a kind, funny, generous, compassionate and giving woman who was strong enough to be my mother.
I’ve been ill more years than I’m sure we all hope to count. I have been plagued by the sniffles or tummy aches or minor boo boos. Nope, I’ve had incisions, high fevers, hemorrhages, and near death battles for my life. And, every time, you were there with one phone call to stroke my hair, hold my hair, tend to my wounds, remove my bandages and feed me when I couldn’t do so myself. You did it beyond the require 18 years.
You very rare showed feared or shed a tear, at least that I could see. Instead, you were the pillar of strength I needed when I felt vulnerable. You taught me that with prayer and pure will, it’s possible to overcome the direst circumstances. On those days when I didn’t want to go on, and there were many, I’d look into your ear, listen to your voice, and I knew that I couldn’t give up and cause you pain; you didn’t deserve to bury your oldest child.
I couldn’t have imagined when I was young that the same woman washed my hair then greased my scalp, smacked on the forehead when I didn’t sit still while you dipped the brush in water to style my hair, and forced me to stand in front of you so you could put Vaseline on my face, would become my best friend. However, that’s exactly who you are.
I’ve talked to you about the emotional challenges in my love life, work and life itself. Most times you listened, offered advice but sometimes you disagreed. You’ve cried with me when I shared tears; you traveled the world with me, you volunteered your time with me; you laughed with me; and you slept beside me when I didn’t want to be alone. You also supported my dream to be a writer like no one else; copy editing my work and offering suggestions to make it better.
So, how do you say thank you to someone who has given so much to me? Happy birthday isn’t enough. I’ll just say I’m grateful for the day you were born and every day since that I’ve gotten to know you; I am and will always be blessed because you existed.