I had planned for this post to be far more well-thought out. After all, I hate to shortchange this person, especially on her birthday.
Yep, today is Mom's birthday. She would have been 68 (good grief!), though I doubt her friends would believe she was older than 58. She had that amazing ability to seem so much younger than she was. I remember how stunned her friends were at her funeral when they learned her true age. She never lied, but I guess few people asked and nearly everyone assumed she was barely the other side of 50.
I realized recently, especially in light of all of the recent political upheaval, how grateful I am for a gift she gave me. Yes, it's her birthday, but since I can't give a tangible gift, I thought I would offer thanks instead for the gift of an open mind.
I can't say exactly why it happened. I don't know every experience of her life, but have a few ideas. Whether or not they are truly the reason she wanted me to form my own beliefs is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that she never, ever forced me to believe anything and for that I thank her.
Politics, religion, whether or not to breastfeed? It was, "This is what I believe and why. I do not expect you to believe the same. You are your own person and should have your own beliefs."
No muss, no fuss, no thoughts of disowning me if our beliefs did not share the same path. Now that I have three children of my own, I am so grateful to have had her faith and love, no matter what I chose for myself. And, of course, my gift to my children will be the same.
Thanks, Mom. I love you, I miss you and Happy Birthday, wherever you are.