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Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my my mom’s 58th birthday. I’ll likely be reprimanded for saying her age publicly, but fortunately, she can no longer send me to my room (sorry, Mom).

At two years shy of 60, this birthday is not a particularly special one. But my mom has spent 25+ years celebrating even my most boring accomplishments, so it’s only fitting I make a big deal out of 58.

I’ve said before, my parents are my superheroes. And in true superhero form, my mom has been running, worrying, starving, supporting and not sleeping for decades now. I’d like to think I’m her angel child, but quite frankly, I’ve cost her some sanity.

My mom holding me as an infant

Photo by Christine Ebsch, 1987

Let’s start with the running. As a child, I remember my mom sprinting between ballet recitals, soccer practices, field trips, sleepovers, school plays and an infinite number of other places I sent her for ice cream, toys and 90s-esque pogs and Polly Pockets.

Then, there’s the worrying— over the boys I dated, the nights I missed curfew, college acceptance letters, exam results, job offers, heartache and health scares. She has wiped away my tears and consoled me through every unexpected crossroad.

She has skipped meals because of me. She has worn mismatched shoes because of me. She has missed dinners and hair appointments and social trips because of me.

My mom has made my pain her pain. My struggles her struggles. My stresses her stresses. Years ago, during a school science project, she went so far as to purchase a tree and plant it in our yard the day before a leaf collection project was due, ending a weeks-long search for that specific type of leaf. Needless to say, I aced the project.

Moms don’t get trophies or badges or awards for the work they do. But my mom is certainly part of every trophy I’ve won. Part of every test I’ve aced. Part of every paper I’ve written, every speech I’ve given and every broadcast I’ve anchored. She is part of every friendship I’ve had, every trip I’ve embarked on and every challenge I’ve conquered.

My mom has taught me how to love others. She has taught me how to love myself. She has taught me how to forgive those who have wronged me. How to move past experiences that damaged me. And how to do it all in heels.

Happy 58th birthday, mama. Let’s make a big deal of it.