Mom was upset with me earlier this week. I posted a photo of her in my journal that she found unflattering. I don't know, she's just "Mom" to me, so I didn't really understand the problem she had with that picture. But I'll try to make up for it here. She's a beautiful person, and she deserves to be looked at that way. She's the youngest and most vibrant woman of 73 years that I know.
My mom got up at five o'clock this morning to help run a booth for the Family and Community Counseling Services at the Santa Rosa version of the Human Race, an event to raise money for various worthy causes. Her back won't let her walk the six-mile course through the park any more, but she always volunteers her time whenever she can. She's often the person her seniors group relies on to take up the slack, because she's always ready to give as much as she can in support of something she believes in.
What I believe is that the tolerance and compassion she taught me as a child has made me a better adult. She's earned the love and respect of everyone who knows her, and I'm grateful to have her in my life. I often think I'm her biggest (or at least neediest) charity. I know I can lean on her when I'm overwhelmed by the daily stresses, or when I just need someone to talk to. She usually knows what I need even before I do.
Mom has lived in Northern California most of her life. She grew up on her grandfather's ranch near Hopland, worked at the USO during World War II and went to college in San Jose, married my dad at the age of 21 and stayed married until his death 39 years later, worked for many years in a mortgage banking office in Santa Rosa, raised two children (and got better results as each one came along), and has managed to stay active and involved as the years have passed. Her friends who can't drive can depend on her for a ride. People of all ages count on her to listen to their stories and share her wisdom with them.
She's also an artist. She painted these sunsets just for me.