I am missing my mom today.
My mom wasn't always easy to understand and she wasn't perfect. But she loved us unconditionally and we always felt it. I joked yesterday about the pressure I felt to succeed, but, honestly, every kid should be so lucky to be so encouraged. I know she probably wasn't encouraged like that as a kid and my dad wasn't, so the fact that they were able to cheer everything we did—even if, as children tend to do, I interpreted it as pressure—is a testament to how hard they worked to rise above the way they were raised. As I raise my own children, it occurs to me frequently that I don't have to rise above the way I was raised. I have to try and match it.
When I became an adult, and strode out in to the world on my own, my mom became my friend, and it was the most wonderful friendship I have ever had. No one could make me laugh like my mom. No one found me quite as funny as my mom. And our phone calls were always raucous giggle-fests, and whatever worry I had called her about would disappear in our laughter. She refused to ever pass judgement on anything we chose to do, and if she disagreed, we never knew it. She became, in many ways, an embodiment of pure love and acceptance.
The last couple years of her life were difficult, as she began to lose her sight, her hearing, and her mobility. Phone calls—which had been our lifeline to each other for so many years—became increasingly difficult as she could not hear well, even with her hearing aid. During our last phone call, just a few days before she passed away, I couldn't understand half of what she said and she couldn't hear much of what I said, but we still managed to joke and laugh and I still felt the warmth of her love.
I still do, even now.