The Best Mom Ever

My mom on the Disneyland carousel. 2009.

My mom turns 60 tomorrow. That's a pretty big number. Yes, it's a lot of years. She'd be the first to admit to that....hence her reluctance to "celebrate" this year on her birthday. But, it's also weighty. Full of signifance. Heavy with memories. Pungent with dreams realized and hopes placed to the side.

Today my mom attended the funeral of an older woman from our church. When we spoke on the phone afterwards, she told me that she learned so much about this lady at her funeral. And how much she wished she had known these things when she was alive -- what amazing things they had in common.

I've always thought it was a terrible shame that so much of what people truly think and feel about a person isn't shared until a funeral. Wouldn't it be preferable to hear those funny anecdotes and heart-warming tales people have to share about you when you're living, rather than watching it from a box seat from the heavens?

With that thought in mind, I thought that I would try to convey all that I feel about my mom at this historic milestone of her life while I have breath to say it, and while she has ears to hear it. After all, none of us know what tomorrow may bring. May we never have the regret, "I just wish I would have only told her/him...."

This is going to sound so trite, cliche and preposterous. It will, but it's no exaggeration. It's the plain, simple and honest truth.

I have the best mom...ever!

Sidenote: I know all of you with moms out there are perhaps questioning my claim -- having a wonderful mother yourself. I will concede that there are many such amazing moms out there. However, since this is my blog and it's MY mom that's turning 60, you'll have to go with me on this one.

Do you know that mother that Hallmark cards praise so glowingly, that inspire soldiers and sailors to tattoo "I ♥ Mom" on their arms, the one portrayed on the Campbell's soup commercials with the steaming bowl of warm soup waiting for you on a cold winter's day?

Well, that's my mom.

Notice, I did not compare her to Donna Reed or Mrs. Cleaver. She does not walk around in full-skirted dresses and kitten heels around the house as she scrubs toilets and makes gourmet meals for dinner.

Actually my mom is as comfortable in jeans as she is in a skirt. She'd choose flats over heels most any day. While we were always fed well as children, she would be quick to admit that she doesn't enjoy cooking very much. Although she kept the house tidy and clean, she's not overly fond of housework.

So, you see, she's not a stereotypical "perfect mom" -- if even any of those exist.

But, she still the BEST mom.

Why, you ask?

She may not know how to cook a souffle (or have the inclination to do so), but she knows how to whip up the perfect batch of brownies with her grandkids. She has a pantry full of mixes and goodies that are on-hand for when they frequently spend the night. She and my father have been known to take as many as 7 of them on at one time -- just the two of them.

She may not enjoy scrubbing toilets, but she is quick to jump in and help when one of the kids needs a diaper change (yes, even the poopy ones) or has a potty accident.

She may not enjoy wearing high heels, but she's quick to get her flats on and out the door should any of her family members be in distress. (In fact, she just might run out the door without shoes at all!)

My mom does not have a selfish bone in her body. She will constantly give, and give, and give to people and then turn around and ask her daughters how it is that they got to be so thoughtful -- never realizing that it has been her example that has led the way.

She will apologize for saying something that might have been hurtful, and you'll have no idea what she's talking about. She would never want to grieve or hurt anyone. Most times, her perceived slights don't even register on the "Offense-o-Meter."

She says yes to so many things -- maybe things she should say no to. We, her daughters, have to police ourselves not to ask her to help/do/come over so much because she so rarely says no -- it's probably not healthy. ;)  So, we have to say no for her.

When she does say no, she feels terrible. She never wants to let anyone down.  Ask all the "sales/charity call" people who have my mom down on their call lists.

If you've ever wondered if there is a mom out there who is always loving and complimentary to you, never yells or raises her voice in anger, offers food whenever you stop by, calls you "just because she misses you" even though you live in the same town and you saw her yesterday, takes your colicky baby or difficult child for the night so you can have a break, praises your success and consoles and encourages you in your failures, prays for you aloud and in her heart, listens to your dreams and thoughts without derision or giving too much advice, always wants people to feel missed when they're gone, takes you out to lunch on her (even though you are now in your 30s), comes over to babysit and leaves your house cleaner than it was when she arrived, makes your friends feel like welcomed members of the family, and loves and gives to people so much you almost wish she wouldn't so much for fear of her heart being broken.

If you've wondered if that kind of mom exists, I can tell you most certainly that she does.

Her name is Katie Bruton.

No, she's not perfect. She's so much more.
  • She's traveled all over, but hates stepping on an elevator.
  • She has two daughters, but considers herself also the mother of two sons (and often takes their side ;)
  • She has eight grandchildren, but is a "grammie" to so many more.
  • She is a second-grade Sunday School teacher, but has taught many, many others.
  • She's a doting wife, but also an equal partner in her marriage.
  • She loves The Arts, but doesn't feel like she is very good at any of them.
  • She'll drop anything for a friend, but wouldn't want to inconvenience anyone to do the same.
She never forgets a birthday, but wishes that people would forget to remember hers.

So, now you know why I cannot let this wonderfully amazing, somewhat awe-inspiring succession of years come and go without pausing to say what I will say someday (God please let it be a far, far away someday) at her funeral.

It's because I have the best mom....ever.

Me and My Mom. Carousel 1974.

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