This weekend is mother's day. I know this because of the million cards and ads that pepper the entire world around me. And every year around this time, when I walk into a store, I tuck my chin low, cast my eyes down and avoid looking at all the people diligently browsing the mothers day section. I do this so I don't burn with jealousy or go wobbly-legged with sadness.

I neither have a mother on this side of heaven, nor am I one, so I avoid it all as best I can.

But for me this weekend has always been about my mother, even without hallmark's bullhorns and banners announcing the celebration of mom, because May 7th is her birthday. In my mind, it's all for her; the fanfare, the sunshine and the lilacs.

Today, I'd like to dedicate #tbt to my mother, because I celebrate her still. Here are some of the reasons why.

- She talked me down from a puffed-sleeves and lace ledge when my 6 year old fashion sense was beginning to take a sharp left turn. In fact, she talked me down from quite a few close calls...

 

-She spent endless hours dedicated to unlocking the riddle that was my learning style when it came to math (Music, it turns out.)

-She proudly wore - in public! - the despicably ugly pink scarf I dug out of my toy box and "gave" her for mothers day, because she would never think of rejecting my gifts.

- She instilled in me the value of an iron and a pair of tweezers

- She was the greatest adventurer. Traveling with her was always full of discovery and was somehow colored a golden shade from the force of her enthusiasm. #threefrenchhensforlife

-She taught me what it means to be self-propelled in learning, working, and in the designing of my own time. In my life now I am an entrepreneur and an artist. No one requires me to get out of bed and do what I do. No one has provided me a neat template of solutions and answers to the problems I solve or the things I create. Every day, I lean heavily on these things, which she gave me when she picked to homeschool me. When she taught me how not to conform, how to think for myself, how to be hungry and persistent and mostly how to get up and go, when there's no reason not to stay in pajamas and watch mister rogers reruns (well, these days it's something else.)

- Because she's the one from whom I get my love of Saturdays filled with coffee and magazines and books

- My mother loved Aaron. She drove an hour every week to talk to the man I love about faith and life. She took the time to sew him a stocking just like she did for each of us, and forged a deep bond with him, because she saw what was happening to my heart, and to his.

- She taught me that love isn't a feeling and demonstrated commitment in the face of all excuses and reason, connecting for me all the ways that loving someone is an act of honoring your word.

- And she made moose ears instead of flying the middle finger to the person who rudely cut her off on the interstate. This is one example to illustrate the bigger truth; she had both integrity about her witness and a wicked sharp sense of humor.

- She wrote beautifully and spoke powerfully and influenced people to "be the cream" when they sort of felt like skim milk.

- Her powers of listening made you feel intensely valuable and wanted.

- Making her laugh was better than anyone else.

- She thought it would be incredible to take us all to a cheese factory and bore the weight of our merciless teasing about it for years.  She won't get to know this side of heaven how crazy cool I now think that is.

- Because of the way she looked at you.

- She was a pioneer of thought and design, able to see through what was, to what could be. An artist and an engineer both, fully embodying the genius of "and", with the power to communicate her ideas.

- Because of her incredible sense of style. Because she was one of those people with allure and presence and most compelling of all, she had no idea..

- She left me notes, all the time and this is probably why to this day, the most precious thing you can give me is a note. She filled people full of good, encouraging, life giving words. When she spent time with you, she was all there. There weren't a million things going on behind her eyes, it was you and her and her gladness to be with you. When she did something for you, it was beautiful and meaningful. When she hugged you, it was fiercely. But mostly, I loved her notes, because I'm a words person.

- Because this is the face she made when she gave a gift (which was often)

All of these things contribute to my life every single day. The world is poorer for having lost her, but all the things she was...well, I still love to celebrate them and aspire to them.

Happy birthday, Mama. Maybe you weren't the only life, but you were arguably one of the best that ever was.

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