Let me introduce you to another one of my most favorite people in the whole world...my Mom. Pic below is the two of us last Sept. in the city park where she volunteers every week working in the huge herb garden there. Yes, I got my good looks (this pic was just after I reached Onederland) and the gardening gene from Mom, although she actually knows a lot about the plants (sorry Mom, I only had a few pics to chose from on my computer; not the best of either of us). She taught me the importance of having hobbies that you love...gardening is my meditation.
My Mom is one of the strongest and nicest women I've ever met. She's got lots of nicknames, and although they might not all sound nice on the surface, all of them are endearing and show what a wonderful person she is.
My DH dubbed her 'Pumpkin' one year in college (soon after he met my family) when she made us matching pear costumes for a Greek Halloween dance where the theme was 'Famous Pairs' (get it pears/pairs). We were laughing and telling jokes as she stuffed us full of paper to fill out the 'pears' and talking about body shapes and all I remember is that DH made a funny joke (that I can't remember) about her being more of a 'pumpkin' than a 'pear' shape (like me) and she fained shock and we teased him severely about it...it stuck. He's received several 'pumpkin' items from her since then and she'll (and he'll) never live that one down.
Someone dubbed her 'Doormat' as she never says 'No' to anyone needing help. Even with five children to raise, I remember her always volunteering with lots of things throughout the years, even when she went back to work full-time in nursing after her youngest went to school; the 'Sister's of the Sick/Poor' huge annual card party and auction that I used to draw the pictures for yearly for their cookbook they sold, reading to the blind, helping shop and taking communion for the homebound, teaching CCD, Girl Scouts, PTA, Garden Club-starting a yearly Scholarship...I could go on and on. My Mom taught us the importance of giving back and doing for others. I remember my first boss gave me a book entitled 'How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty'...I guess I got the 'Doormat' gene too LOL...it's a good thing.
My kids dubbed her 'Oma' (as we are mainly German and it's their name for Grandmother). I think it's her favorite nickname as she relishes in the Oma role. She caters to and spoils her dozen grandchildren (we laugh and say that she even gives them gifts for Arbor Day). She knows each of their favorite foods and always has the cupboards full of favorites when they arrive. I've tried many times to replicate her 'eyeball eggs' (fried eggs) for DS2 (his favorite), but 'No one can make them like Oma.' He (my musical one) even made up a song he sings when he comes downstairs in the morning when we're staying there entitled 'Bacon and Eggs!'...she loves it!
I gave her the 'Icewater in Her Veins' name (sorry Mom, that one stuck too)...I remember it happened one time when I pointed out that she never gets angry or mad about anything...Mom is the eternal optimist (yes, I got some of that gene too...I guess I can't blame Mom too much for all the bad genes I got). We five children all wear our hearts on our sleeves...we laugh and cry at the drop of a hat, we fight, we make-up, we laugh until we can't breathe, we talk about everything and there's always lots of drama, but we also love each-other deeply and would each drop everything with a phone call from any one of us in need. Mom is the happy even tempered one in the family who keeps things in perspective and walks around with rose colored glasses on seeing the best in everything...and that leads me to my favorite nickname.
'Saint XXX(her name)'...you can't call many people a Saint, but this truly fits her. Anyone who knows her, loves her. She's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet...
...the funny thing is, she's also one of the strongest women I know. Anyone that knows her knows that she's one of the hardest working and most capable woman you'll ever meet too. She went back to nursing and retired as the Assistant Director of the Red Cross for Central Ohio (I got my strong work ethic from her). She managed that while raising the five of us and all her volunteer work...she has seemingly endless energy and is always working on something (yep, she taught me to always have a big project going too). She still does several crossword puzzles every morning, and if anyone ever mentions something she doesn't have the answer to, she's always gone right to the Encyclopedias (now the Internet) to look it up. She's never afraid to try something new. That taught me the value of 'learning something new every day'.
She's smart, competetive and no one wants to play 'Trivial Pursuit' with her...she's got the best memory I've ever seen. She's gone through some great adversities in her life and showed such strength through it all.
Before I finish, I'll just say that I can only hope to be the woman that she is and the example that she's been. As I've pointed out, some of her best qualities I've tried to take on at least a little bit of, but she's mastered each of them in a way that I can only hope to aspire to. The final thing I want to say is that the quality I admire most in Mom is the thing that brings all her 'nicknames' and 'traits' together...she goes through life with style and a happiness that is contagious. She works hard and makes the most of every day and finds the fun in everything. She'll sing and kick up her heels at the drop of a hat and she's not afraid to play, get silly, and poke fun at herself even...I think it's what's kept her so young...when you forget how to play you get old. I love to get her laughing and she does it often...here's to my (favorite nickname)..Mom!