Happy Birthday Mom…

My mom is one of the quirkiest people I know. I can share this here, because I tell her the same thing frequently and we have a good “skit” going, where she asks “how?” and then I list by bullet point, some examples which we both laugh heartily about. I can also admit that as I age, I see myself understanding some of her actions. When I was a kid and she’d be out in the garden in her PJ’s, I would shake my head and wonder why she didn’t care how she dressed. Now, on mornings off, as I wear my ratty robe and slippers, coffee in hand randomly picking weeds out of the raised-beds in my yard…which sits on the street…I get it. But I digress…

The thing is, my mom truly is one of the best people I know. Definitely the kindest and most honest. Her intentions are always good. While she has suffered a decade of absolute shit-burgers of circumstances, she keeps putting one foot in front of the other. Her strength sometimes surprises me.

As a younger mom she had left her job as a school teacher to raise my sister and I. We went to a small, rural school outside of Salem where funding was low and the focus was on Ag, Shop and Home Ec, but because she had been a biology teacher she volunteered periodically. She’d create week-long lessons teaching us everything from the cardiovascular system and how it worked, to the animal kingdom and it’s classification system.

As a younger woman she dreamed of combining her talent in art with her love for animals creating dioramas in museums. it was a dream she never realized, but did continue with her art, and worked briefly at the Trailside Museum in Chicago caring for the resident animals.

Last year, my sister and I took my mom to the Newport Aquarium for her birthday which led me down a new path, discovering a love for paleontology and the study of deep time. Now, my mom and I share facts we’ve each learned, or talk about science documentaries we both watched. I’m grateful to have this mutual interest with her since we’ve always been very different from one another, not historically having a lot in common. It’s brought us closer.

Today on her 80th birthday, I wish her a happy day. How does this relate to paddling or adventure? Not even a little bit, but you gotta celebrate and honor the person who gave you life! Happy Birthday mom!!

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