Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Mother is Beautiful

My Week In Tweets will be postponed until tomorrow in order for a special Mother's Day tribute.

I am not ashamed to say, that at almost 34, I still need my mother. And today, of all days (her day off as Dad put it), Mom was Supermom and came through in the biggest way - making me feel like I should have sent her a bigger bouquet of flowers or possibly even dropped everything and driven straight to the airport, boarded a plane and surprised her at dinner tonight. I mean seriously - that's how awesome my Mom is and how much I love her.

Several years ago, Dove ran a contest looking for "real women" to star in a new campaign about true beauty. I didn't hesitate to nominate my mother. Of course, the piece I originally wrote was way too long for the contest guidelines and so I had to trim it down - substantially. But I remembered the essay today when I was thinking about how incredible my mom is and since there are no length limits on my blog...

* * *

My mother is beautiful – the most beautiful woman I know. It's not her silvery hair – which she has never dyed, not even when she started going gray in her 20s. It's not her well proportioned features – the perfect nose I so gratefully inherited or her soft, heart-shaped lips. It's not her eyes, which shine with a lifetime of love. These things, these features, do make my mother beautiful. But her true beauty lies in her voice.

It took my mother a long time to figure out who she was. For many years – she played various roles: dutiful daughter, loving wife, caring mother. But these roles were about the people around her – her father, her husband, her children. Her identity was lost under a complex web of what other people expected, what other people scripted for her. There was no sense of self.

I don't know the exact moment my mother found her voice. When she discovered that her role in her own life was to star, not to support. When she learned that standing up for herself didn't mean having to stand alone. When she realized that she could be bold, empowered, and forthright without sacrificing compassion or tenderness. I don't know when my mother found her voice, but she found it later in life. When the fancy of youth had passed and the sunset of “somewhere beyond middle-aged” loomed large.

My mother has taught me what it means to be a strong woman. An independent woman. A proud woman.

A woman is beautiful because she knows who she is. My mother is the most beautiful woman I know.

* * *

Happy Mother's Day to all of you amazing moms out there. May you continue to teach, inspire, heal, nurture, protect, and love your children.

And to my Mom - You make it all possible, and I would be utterly lost without you.

And if you don't need a tissue by now...aww, you know the rest...


Nancy said...

That was beautiful!
My mother died when I was 27. I was only beginning to know who she really was, finally looking past myself(!) and seeing that we were very much alike.
My two sisters and I have realized more and more over the years that we have become her, in the way we look, the way we've raised our children and the way we reach out to others.
I wish you many, many more years of your mother's love!

kyooty said...

what a beautiful essay!!!

harmzie said...

What a lovely tribute. Definitely reaching for the tissue :-)

debb said...

That was beautiful. You write about your dad alot, it is nice to know more about your mom.

My birth mom had me when she was 14. She died this past January at 50. It is a loss I feel even deeper than I imagined I would. My adoptive mom who is my rock, helped me through my loss and keeps us all togther. She is our patriach and I can never imagine knowing a more beautiful, loving woman. She is 74. They have 8 kids, 29 grandkids, and a handful of great grandkids. My dad has alzheimers and she takes care of him at home, still. Also, my 52 yr. old "special" sister.

They all moved to Arkansas from Vegas 3 years ago, and my heart has still not recovered.

debb said...

oops, I so meant matriarch. :)

Linda said...

Beautiful, Beautiful tribute. Lost my mom last year suddenly. Sometimes I still just want to call her and talk about nothing.