When I search through the catalog of years in my mind for a specific memory of my mom, I don’t get anything specific. Rather, Mom was always there, in every memory, like a warm, comforting presence that glued everything together. Mom was home-lunch with peanut butter and honey sandwiches. She was casserole and meatloaf, chili and peanut butter crackers, healthy food because she cared so much, and only once was she eggplant parmigiana (she learned her lesson with that one).
Mom was soft hands that went straight to my forehead when I was sick, and Shirley Temple movies and craft projects to make me feel better. She was even calamine lotion when I had the chicken pox, and camp-outs on the living room floor when it was too hot to sleep. Mom was summer trips to the library and brand-new first day of school outfits (complete with new shoes). Christmas was full of Mom, from the home-baked cookies (thumbprints and candy canes to be exact,) to the stockings hung by the chimney with care, to the gifts lovingly wrapped and always there no matter what our finances were like. We were all princes and princesses on our birthdays because mom made sure that our special days were full of our favorite foods and activities.
Mom was a hug and a good cry when I was down, and a loud cackle at anything funny. She was a present after any trip to the doctor, and a kiss before school. She was the smile that inspired me to succeed and the pride that patted me on the back when I did. Mom was the embodiment of love in the face of every obstacle, and this is the kind of person I strive to be – one who is present in not just a few memories, but in every part.
I love you, Mamacita. Happy 60th Birthday, and at least 60 more to come.