Heroine Addict

Hall of Famers, Academy Award Winners, Olympic Medalists:  Revered and honored for personal bests.

Unsung Heroes:  No statues, exhibits, or parades.
Simply doin’ it for others since time immemorial.

pink yellow thin line

Someone of inestimable worth, who makes your load lighter, your smile brighter, your worries fewer, your existence easier. Someone who would give you their last dime, the shirt off their back, the food on their plate. Someone who’s umbrella is big enough for everyone to be under, usually at the expense of them getting wet. Someone who does without any expectation of recognition or reward. This person’s joy is found in pleasing others. Their wants and needs always take a backseat.

Those who know me, know I come from a very family-centric environment. That my father, praise-worthy and near perfect in my eyes, passed away more than a decade ago. That despite this major life change, despite the vestiges of mourning that remain today, my mother continues to be the involved, engaged, maternally devoted woman she has always been. Hero worship? You betcha. Of the pure, unadulterated kind.

I could write for hour after hour, day upon day, and never have a full accounting of my mother’s giviloquy [word I just coined; definition: a passage describing one’s profound and massive generosity]. Her empathy knows no bounds. A few weeks ago, she fell and suffered a serious injury. Waiting in the hospital emergency room, in extreme pain (from what would be diagnosed as a completely shattered shoulder), she observed a woman holding a toddler. A visible frown crossed her face, accompanied by an audible ‘aww’. This baby wasn’t crying and appeared fine. He may not have even been the patient in the group, but her heart went out to him. And his mother. Her heart goes out to the world, yet amazingly, is still strong enough to feel the ache of loss and the swell of love.

She has elevated selflessness to a true art form. With nothing but a blank canvas and primary palette, she has produced a string of masterpieces. Her compositions appear lit from within, whether day or night, summer or winter. Any shadows are those under her eyes, as she’ll donate sleeping hours to the project without a second thought. The landscape is seemingly endless, with an uncanny sense of it running off the edges. Any boundaries are those she put in place to ward off harm. The colors proffer and please, whisking you away in playful abandon. Any darkness is that on her skin and clothes, since she will work unceasingly even if her limbs bruise and her garments stain. At first glance, the finished product looks perfect, seemingly flawless. But if you look closely, beneath numerous layers, you will see the tiny cuts and tears she painstakingly labored to cover. Like so many iconic visionaries, she can’t possibly know all of the hearts she’s touched and lives she’s changed, and her value continually increases with the passage of time.

Growing up, ours was the house everyone flocked to. My friends were always thrilled to come over, I assumed, because I was so lovable [**cough** ego check **cough**]. Turns out they were drawn to my mother’s magnetic energy and contagious aplomb. People seek her warmth and wisdom, and hope for a morsel of her magnanimous spirit and nurturing attention. Not to mention her chicken schnitzel and pilaf. The lady gives good oven. ;)

Sidebar: James Beard, Julia Childs, and Rachel Ray have nothing on mom. In her prime, on any of the reality cooking shows of today, she’d have blown the lid off the soup pot. Iron Chef, meet Diamond Skillet. Cake Boss, meet Cheesecake CEO. Stomach, meet Alka Seltzer. Prepare to hurt so good.

I’ve never encountered a single person who didn’t have shining accolades for my mother. This always gave me a warm fuzzy, immediately followed by a belly drop. It was sobering thinking I’d never live up to her standards. I don’t mean what she expected of me; I could do the bare minimum (at times did) and still get a “That’s great, honey.  I’m proud of you.” I mean her collective roles as a person―wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, daughter―comparatively against mine. By my barometer, my measuring stick, I will always fall way short of her mark. She is a wonderment, a prodigy, a powerful benevolence who’s efforts are both timely and timeless. The truth is, if I’m even one-tenth of the person she’s been, a watered-down version to her full strength one, I am high quality. I have to be the best I can be, not the best she can. It’s apples to applesauce.

pink yellow thin line

Don’t ever think it’s frivolous or redundant to make verbal declarations, based on the assumption that a person already knows how you feel. Better double the dose than not enough. I would shout it from the mountaintops, sing it to the world, engrave it on granite over and over for all of eternity and consider that a welcome fate…

I love you, Mom.

You are the reason I know happiness, the unnamed credit behind my successes, the safety net beneath my failures, the answer to questions I never asked. Goodness personified, graciousness magnified, beauty defined. I’ve profited from your sacrifices, flourished under your protection, bathed in your attentiveness. I am filled with appreciation, devotion, and awe. You are a living, breathing blueprint of how to raise a family. Give them wings, teach them to fly, encourage them to explore, catch them when they fall, forgive them when they flub, and always keep a warm, welcoming nest they can migrate home to.

Endless thanks and steadfast praise aren’t nearly enough, but I humbly offer them to you, anyway. History has shown me you’ll multiply their worth, and somehow, defying all logic and explanation, find extra change to give back to me.

“Hundreds of dewdrops to greet the dawn,
Hundreds of butterflies on the lawn,
Hundreds of bees in the purple clover,
But only one mother the wide world over.” ~ George Cooper

Impassioned by the pen,
Platinum Pink

The truth is, if I’m even one-tenth of the person she’s been, a watered-down version to her full strength one, I am high quality.

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