I drove to Portland to surprise my mom for her 60th birthday, after 2 weeks of pretending to be in LA applying for jobs and actually staying with my friends Amanda and Charley in Oakland before heading home. My mom has been subtly dropping hints that she wanted a party to celebrate the milestone birthday for the past year, and I'd originally planned on getting to Oregon on her birthday and surprising her at brunch with my siblings. Because I was in town the weekend before, and because it felt weird to keep it a secret from my mom, I ended up surprising her by walking into the living room like nothing was out of the ordinary. I think she was more confused than anything else, and trying to figure out if I'd told her I was coming home already, but a day later she told me it had finally sunk in that I was home for her birthday and she was ready to party.
We celebrated by going bowling with family and friends, and the day before her birthday, I got to join my mom and her students on a trip to the zoo. It happened to be National Teacher Appreciation day, and I loved seeing my mom in her element. Almost everyone I know who has ever met my mom has made a point to tell my siblings and me how lucky we are to have a mom who is as mindful, genuine and kind as she is, and who loves us as much as she does. I agree that we lucked out, and since Mother's Day is this Sunday, here's a few other moms who have made an impact on me and the things that make them so great.
1. Maternal Instinct. Midway between Oakland and Portland, I started feeling sick and ended up tossing my carrots [literally] all along the I5. I really just wanted to get home, but after pulling over to rest in the backseat of my car a couple times, I finally texted my friends, Justin and Elise, to see if Justin's parents were home in Eugene that weekend. They insisted that I should stop for the night, and Justin's mom [who's name is Martha and is exactly like Martha Stewart minus the jail time] welcomed me with a bottle of water, a hot shower, and a floral guest room, saying they wouldn't be bothering me so I could get some rest. Proof that moms who barely know you still have a knack for knowing exactly what you need.
2. Selfless Love. Earlier this week, I got a voicemail from the owner of Mother's Bistro saying that she needed to cancel our brunch reservation because there had been a tragedy in her family. I told my sister, who said she'd seen on the news that the woman's daughter had died while hiking with her kids over the weekend, after her 3 year old son slipped on a rock and she dove to save him. I can't begin to comprehend what that family is going through, but the woman's immediate, selfless reaction says a lot about how ingrained it is in moms to put their kids above themselves.
3. Toughness. My hairstylist went on a hiatus after going through simultaneous tragedies a couple years ago, so when I got an email saying she was taking clients again, I was happy to hear she was back to doing what she loves, and selfishly thrilled to see her again. Since I recently decided that moving back to California means going blonde again, we had a couple hours to talk about the things she'd gone through and how she'd managed. She's a mother of four, just like my mom, and she told me how she never had an option besides continuing on with life in the interest of her kids. She's recently remarried, and I was in awe of her ability to make the best of a really bad situation.
Happy early Mothers Day!