However, I am thankful that two days earlier I got to celebrate the birthday of another lady who is even more important to me.
My mother is not 100 or even at the halfway mark. Honestly, she hasn’t shown many signs of aging since I was in kindergarten.
While we were touring the Bankhead House on her birthday, one of the volunteers commented that we looked like we could be sisters. We have heard that many times before.
We were also called the Gilmore Girls for a while. Like Lorelai and Rory from the popular WB show, my mother and I are friends as well as family.
We grew especially close while I was in college.
Every semester I seemed to end up with a two or three hour break between classes at least one day during the week. My mother usually rode over with me so we could spend that time eating at Milo’s and shopping at Sam’s Club.
My mother should have gotten a certificate of her own when I graduated because she logged almost as many hours at UAB as I did over those four years.
She usually sat somewhere and people-watched until I got out of class. There were certainly enough odd-looking specimens to keep her entertained.
Once I snuck her into a lecture with me. The professor never knew the difference, which really doesn’t say much for campus security.
When my mother wasn’t hanging out at UAB with me, she was supporting my education in other ways.
I never had to worry about cooking or cleaning clothes. She handled all of that while I juggled a full course load and part-time jobs at the Daily Mountain Eagle and UAB’s Kaleidoscope.
I rarely if ever thanked my mother during that time. I carried on with my life and came home when it was time to eat or sleep.
Our friendship, like any other, has often been tested. My rebellious actions are almost always to blame.
I was born with a stubborn streak that runs a mile deep. It reared its ugly head first when I refused to wear dresses and bows as a little girl. Later, it came back with a vengeance when I started to date.
My mother tried to tell me to slow down, that I was taking on too much too fast. It took me a long time to realize how right she was.
Back then, I thought she was just interfering and it angered me that she wouldn’t listen when I said I had everything under control.
Sometimes all she could do with me was say, “If you ever have kids, you’ll see.”
Neither of us expected that would ever happen. Now Wyatt is my “You’ll see” wrapped in an adorable, hardheaded little package.
There are days that my mother must look at my son and feel like she is raising me all over again.
They spend a lot of time together. She keeps Wyatt while Zac and I work.
I frequently work long hours as a reporter. Although I miss my son terribly on those 12-hour days, it helps me immensely to know that he is in good hands.
When I finally come by to pick him up, she hands Wyatt over to me fully fed, rested and freshly bathed. Then the next day she does it all over again without a word of complaint.
I wish I could say that I’m older, wiser and more grateful than I used to be. However, the truth is that I still take my mother for granted.
But really, how do you thank the person who gave you life? What words can I offer to the woman who has always been a better mother than I deserved and who is now offering that same unconditional love to my son?
The greatest compliment that I can offer to her is that she is the mother that I know I can never be.
She excels as a homemaker and caretaker. I, on the other hand, frequently fumble in those roles.
I spent years preparing for a very different kind of life. Although I am overjoyed that my original plans changed, I often feel like I’m just learning to be a wife and a mother as I go.
My mother makes it all look so easy. When I grow up, I want to be just like her.