This is my mother.
This is the woman who carried me for 9 months and brought me into the world.
This is the woman who tolerated my moodiness as a child and my temper tantrums over having wrinkly socks.
This is the woman, who 20 years later, would be one of my best friends.
This is the woman who taught me that knowing a person is knowing the small stuff. This is why I love it that when she goes out to eat, even though I'm a world away, she almost always tells me what she ordered and whether it was tasty or not.
This is the woman who used to twirl me in the kitchen until I was dizzy, singing "I Could Have Danced All Night" for My Fair Lady.
This is the woman who danced with me at my wedding to that same song.
This is the woman who is always behind me. In my blogging, she's always there with a comment. In my photography, she's the one shopping for new lenses for me. In my efforts to learn Chinese, she's the first to offer a "Jia You" (Chinese for "Keep it up!"). In my running, she's the one rubbing my shoulders after a brutal 26.2.
This is the woman that never seems to grow up. Never mind the fact that she still looks young and beautiful, it's the charisma in this woman that strikes me. Leaving an established career to go back to grad school, setting Mario Brothers records on the Wii, exploring her creativity more & more, and galavanting around the world, this is a woman who refuses to get old, boring, & crotchety.
This is a woman who loves & serves her parents. Yes, there is stress. Yes, there is drama. Yes, in some ways she is becoming a parent to her parents. But she is doing is with patience & perseverance. I hope she lets me take care of her in the same way in the years to come (though just like my daddy, I doubt she'll let me!)
This is the woman who listens. No matter what I have to say, no matter how unfounded my fears might be, she listens & responds.
(This isn't necessarily a picture of her listening but I thought it was so fun that I couldn't help but include it!)
This is the woman that taught me that if a man ever hits me, I should leave immediately. Does this count, mama?
This is the mother that I love, that I'm thankful for, that I look like, that has shaped who I am in so many ways. This is my mother.
And in other news, there are a few other birthday shout-outs that I'd like to make...
Our little nephew Jonathan turned one on February 21.
Our oldest son is Jonathan's birthday buddy. No, this is not a coincidence. Since they're not sure when his real birthday is, we got to choose it within the ballpark of his estimated date of birth. We chose for him & Jonathan to have the same birthdays. So we celebrated his birthday without him this year. But next year, we're planning a smashing joint birthday bash for the two of them.
My girl Angela. The past year has not been an easy one for her, but she is fighting the good fight. There are so many evidences of grace in her life, and I am thankful to know her.
So to my mama, my nephew, my son, and my dear friend...
HAPPY BIRTHDAY FROM AFAR!