Friday, September 26, 2008

Mama Mia

To My Mother Upon the Occassion of Her Upcoming 60th Birthday.....

My Mama.........makes the BEST fried chicken in the universe. Absolutely. No question. End of story. And incidentally she somehow manages to burn herself EVERY single time.

...........responds to every request posed to her with the same phrase, "I'll do it for a quarter". "Hey Mama, will you sew this button on for me?" "Yep, for a quarter!" "Hey Betty, can you give me a ride to the airport?" "Sure thing....for a quarter!" I would go as far as to say if the president of the United States called upon her to perform some top secret duty saying, "Mrs. Holmes, your assistance is needed at the Pentagon. Could you fly to Washington immediately for a briefing?" Betty Jo would look directly at him and say, "For a quarter."

...........can make anything grow, anywhere, in any soil. Its likely the reason one of my favorite smells on earth is freshly cut grass and i can not help but think of her anytime i see ANYTHING in bloom.

.......is an annointed shopper. The woman can smell a bargain upwind and three states away. Forget coupons. If you wanna save money, shop with Betty Jo.

........is a GIVER. You wont come to visit her without being fed and you wont leave empty handed. If you even hint that you like something decorating her home she will take it directly off the wall and give it to you. Like that plant? Before you know it, she has dug the sucker up and stuck it in a bucket in your back seat. She delights in sharing with others more than anyone i have ever known.

.....she is warm and kind and quick to laugh. There is, without doubt, NO ONE else like her.


Though Im well aware that you had a life well before I came on the scene, its often hard for me to grasp this completely. While you have only worn the label "Mama" for only HALF of YOUR existence, you've worn it for ALL of MINE. I sometimes look at old photographs of you that look astonishingly like my own reflection in the mirror and i wonder what you were like then. What were your big dreams? What plans did you have for your life and did they turn out at all like you expected? While i may never know the secrets of your heart back then, what i do know for certain, is you were born to be a mother....more importantly, you were born to be mine.

They say that it takes 6 weeks for you to return to normal after having a baby, but i would wager that from the moment you give birth, "normal" pretty much goes right out the window. I imagine raising a child as precocious as myself was often far more difficult than you let on. I remember clearly the day that i decided it was high time i grew up and became sophisticated. I marched up to you and said "Mama, if you will stop calling me Missy and refer to me as Melissa, I will call you Mother instead of Mama". I was 7 and this seemed like a pretty good bargain to me. I will never forget how much that made you laugh. This was merely the begining of signs i was one independent and head strong little bugger. And knowing you as i now do, Im certain this was often hard on you. I know very few 3rd graders that rise from bed to the sound of their own personal alarm clock, but you bought me one and let me do just that because that's what i wanted. This independent streak often meant i would become hellbent on blazing a trail all my own and would come to learn many of Life's lessons the hard way.....sometimes with great suffering. But the thing is...the suffering....well, THAT part i never did alone.....because YOU were there....and i didnt even have to give you a quarter.

Anyone who has ever thought that motherhood was boring has never ridden in a vehicle operated by a teenager with a learner's permit. Im fairly certain that was actually the first time i ever heard you swear. I can still see your face in the window the day i got my liscense and Kent and I sped off down the driveway totally alone for the first time. Ive seen that same look several times since......the day i started college.....the day i moved in to my very first apartment......the day I moved to Atlanta. Anyone who thinks that labor and delivery is the hardest part of bringing a child into the world has never had to watch them walk in to school all by themselves for the first time. Its not the all nighters when i was sick or the eternal helping with the homework or even the teenage agnst and attitude that were the hard parts for you.....its been the letting go. But here is the funny thing, Mama. Its kinda like in junior high when I would say "Brian and I are GOING TOGETHER" and you and dad would laugh and say "Just where are you going, you cant drive!" ......i wasnt really GOING anywhere then.....and i havent GONE anywhere now. And i never will....but thanks for being brave enough to let me cutt the strings.

I know you are going to find this hard to believe.....but I am in fact, NOT perfect. And I am slowly begining to see that after 3 complete decades on the planet, I am still a very long way from acheiving any such state. Put it this way, if the Buhdists have it right and reincarnation is the real deal, i'll be coming back as a free range chicken. HINDsight may indeed be 20/20, but i often feel as though i move FORWARD in step with the legally blind.Many a night, I crawl beneath the covers in wonderment that i survived another day and seriously believing i couldnt make more of a mess of my life if i made it my full time job. But im able to brave morning because I know you are in my corner. Even when i make decisions you diagree with or disapprove of, I know you love me. You've supported me even when I do downright crazy things like consider chucking 10 years of medical training to pursue the notion that the soul of a writer lives within me.

Thank you for being my greatest of fans. Thank you for seeing me thru the darkest of moments. Thank you for the nights i know you stood in the gap just for me.

It is my sincere hope that this birthday is just the begining of a whole new chapter in your life.....the best chapter yet. May it see adventures beyond your wildest imaginations and moments that take your breath away completely. May it be filled with all the love your heart can hold and then some.

I love you with all my heart and gizzard.