Happy Mother’s Day 2014, Mom

My mom and me in late 1952.

My mom and me in late 1952.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I know you are a bit frustrated by a few health issues right now, but I hope you know how much we all admire and love you.

In all these years, as far as I can tell, you’ve never encountered a subject that you don’t want to learn more about. Sometimes when I think about you, I just lean back and marvel at your drive and intellectual capacity. Every time we talk, you tell me about what you’ve learned by working on your computer, sharing at the book club, attending a peace and justice meeting, listening to music at the Bach Festival, or working hard in a committee you serve on at one organization or another. Or maybe I arrive and more plants are in the garden, so I know that you’ve been working out there.

Mom, Her Mom, and Me - 1973

Mom, Her Mom, and Me – 1973

Of course these days you tire more easily, but you are learning to pace yourself so you can do the the things you like to do.

Do you have any idea, over the years, just how many people you have registered to vote, all told? Hundreds, I bet. Of course, we all treasure the picture of you and President Obama (well he wasn’t quite the president at that point). But then you were one of the super-volunteers in the Shenandoah Valley, so active in politics and always willing to take on extra jobs. Then last year you were active in the governor’s election, and one day there you were pictured with former President Bill Clinton when he came to campaign for the candidate.

My mom, her mom, my daughter and me!

My mom, her mom, my daughter and me! Christmas 1982

From you I learned how to write Congresspersons and Senators about critical issues, and I have a trove of responses from various Capitol Hill offices, all received during my childhood and adolescence, to prove how well I followed your instructions. I also learned to respect others — a lesson drummed into me by you and Dad.

“You can really dislike them,” you used to tell me, “but you can’t be disrespectful.” These days I wonder why so many other people did not get similar lessons.

And of course, back a few years ago when I suddenly discovered that you and Rachel seemed to know a lot of information that I didn’t know, I ask her why. She texted back, “…because Grandma’s on Facebook.” I had to sign up for Facebook to keep up with you.

A few years ago you took a stress test and your doctor told you that you have the body/heart of a 64-year-old. Of course, you like to swim and exercise four or more times each week.That probably helps. And a week or so ago, when I spoke with the nurse about your upcoming medical appointment, she commented, “You mom is going to do well. The first question she asked after we talked with her was whether or not she could still swim.”

Oh, and your commitment to helping others, a characteristic that both you and Dad  share.

These days, when so many people wear their religion on their sleeves, you like to describe yourself as a ”Sermon on the Mount“ Christian, applying the concepts from that biblical passage to the real world on a daily basis rather than just mouthing the Biblical words. And whenever I read that passage in the Bible I think of the thousands of times you (and Dad) have lived those words by selflessly helping others.

To you that means helping others — not forcing or bullying them — and not caring about another person’s religion — the real test of your faith.

What a role model! How lucky I am.

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