On A Personal Note
One week ago today was my step-mom's birthday. I admit that about a week ago, I found myself wondering, "When is her birthday? I know it's coming up sometime soon...." But for some reason, even though she's been my "bonus mom" for over thirty years, I couldn't remember the exact day. At the end of last week my dad let me know I had missed it. I of course felt rotten.
I know she probably doesn't think it's a big thing. Sometimes birthdays get missed. My folks even forgot my birthday last year. It happens. But I still wanted to acknowledge her birthday in some special way. As I racked my brain for gift ideas, I was coming up blank. She is someone with pretty specific tastes and not a lot of "wants". So hmmm.... what to do?
My step-mom, like so many other step-parents, doesn't really get acknowledged as much as she should. She's has always been there, quietly in the background of my life, making more of an impact than she realizes. Because of her influence, the relationship I have with my dad is much better than it would have been without her. From time I was six years old she has smoothed out the wrinkles and hiccups and acted as a mediator at times. She has always had the amazing gift of being able to calmly state her case in things and keep the peace.
She doesn't know this but I have always looked up her for her sense of grace. She's the kind of woman who can look stunningly put together and calm in the middle if a hurricane. I've never seen her frazzled or unladylike in any situation. She could simply raise an eyebrow at me as a child and I knew I was doing something I ought not to. She reminds me of a southern matriarch, even though she's a German preacher's daughter from North Dakota.
One of the sweetest moments I've shared with my step-mom was the first time she came to see my twins when they were a few days old. I placed tiny, five pound Grant in her arms and watched her wonder at him. She said how amazing it felt. The warmness and tenderness of him. I realized then, she never did that. She never looked into the eyes of her own newborn child. But she loved us greatly. My brother and I came into her life at the ages of 5 and 9. Already quite formed and ornery. She stepped in as a willing participant in our lives but never once tried to take over as "mother". She was always positive when she spoke about my mom. Never undermined, never criticized, never made us feel like we weren't important.
And so, even though I am rotten and forgot her birthday. I want her to know how important and beautiful she is. She's an amazing Nana to my three sons. Their lives are just as blessed as mine has been to have her in it. I'm so thankful they have her to love them!
Happy Birthday to my step-mom, (and Nana) Colleen! We love you!