Today is your 60th birthday and I have a few things I wanted to tell you. Sit down first, because you’re getting kinda old and I don’t want any of this to shock you too much. (Yes, I can feel you glaring at me for that one, right through the computer. It was worth it.)
1) You are so much more beautiful than you know. I don’t know how you have looked in a mirror every day for sixty years and still don’t see what I do. I love it anytime anyone mentions that I resemble you in any way because you truly are – and always have been – someone who turns heads when you walk into a room. You don’t notice, be we all do.
2) You are smart. Like really, super smart. You don’t seem to think so, but I don’t know many thirty year olds (much less sixty year olds) with the ability to look at a problem and see the solution as quickly as you do. Doesn’t matter what the problem is, you always know the answer. And you learn new things so fast, even though you seem to think you’re slowing down. Well mom, if you’re “slow” then the rest of us are barely moving. In fact, I think the only “dumb” thing I’ve ever heard you say is that you don’t consider yourself to be that smart.
3) You are unfailingly brave. I have never once, in my entire life, heard you say you thought there was something you couldn’t do. You’re never afraid to try new things (except maybe Indian food, but maybe that’s more of an educated decision than a fear). You took a sledgehammer to the kitchen walls and started remodeling days after having surgery. You’ve relentlessly landscaped every last inch of your one acre yard for three decades – hauling rock, soil and beauty bark, downing trees, building fences and arbors – all without ever hiring a single worker. You walk into the rooms of your ICU patients and, no matter how dire the situation, your words, your stature, and your mannerisms convey a level of confidence and competence to patients, families and other nurses that is truly inspiring. You have saved more lives in your lifetime than anyone could possibly count or keep track of. I know the number must be in the thousands.
4) Speaking of inspiration, you have been mine for every day of my thirty years. Not only are you beautiful and smart and brave, but you are kind. You believe in putting good out into the world. You believe in making it a better place through your own actions and decisions. You have so much compassion for others, a level of empathy that so few have. You do not pity, you care and you help. And above all, you believe in others. You have believed in me every moment, and because of that, I learned to believe in myself. I have never doubted I could do anything I wanted to, be anyone I wanted to be, because you never doubted it.
So, these are just a few things I wanted to make sure you knew. Because, for every ounce of belief you have in me, I believe in you just as much. You are the person who taught me to be who I am and I am so grateful for that. I love you Mom. Happy Birthday.
(Now go blow out your candle so I can have some cake!)