The Shapers – My Mom

Shapers. We all have people in our lives who influence us. Some directly, some by request, and some so subtly we may not realize it . We choose, ultimately, those who we wish to borrow from and those we wish to learn from. In over 20,000 days I’ve been influenced by hundreds, perhaps thousands. But there are some who are more significant than others.

If you’ve been to this blog before, you may have noticed the counters that show the number of days and hours that have gone by in my life. You can see I recently passed one-half million hours. I wrote a little bit about that milestone here.

But today is different. Today is my Mother’s ninetieth birthday. Now THAT is impressive.

I wrote a bit about Mom last year on Mother’s Day, so I won’t repeat all that.

I could write about how I’m her favorite, but that might upset my siblings, ’cause they each think that they are.

Mom, her kids and their spouses in 2006 (click for larger version)

Or I could write about how much I’ve seen her care for others year after year. About how much of her time she gave to others in need. Donating clothes, household items, food and time. I could write about how I learned about Down Syndrome through her efforts, taking me to the church school classes for Down children that she was involved with. I think that was probably my first real exposure to understanding what diversity meant, and how every person matters. I don’t know if I ever thanked her for that experience.

I could write about how I never remember wanting for anything. We always had what we needed.

Or how when I wanted to learn needlepoint, or knitting, she showed me how and didn’t tell me that boys don’t do that.

But here’s what I really think about when I think about her life (so far): I was 32 when I married, and my wife had two children from a previous marriage. Our youngest son turns twenty-three this year, and so I have been a parent for about twenty-five years, and for three children. That has been a rewarding experience, and I can say with certainty that doing the same for six children, all from birth onward, is unfathomable to me. I have friends with many children, and many families in our neighborhood were large, so I’ve seen it done. I just can’t imagine HOW!

Mom with most of the grandkids, 2006 (click for larger version)

But she and Dad did it. And they did it well.

Later this month, my siblings will come together to celebrate this amazing woman who gave us all everything she had so that we could be the best “us” that we chose to be. It will be great being together again, especially for such a momentous celebration. And more importantly, great to spend time with her.

Happy Birthday Mom! I love you, I thank you, and we are looking forward to seeing you soon.


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