Mother’s Day, 2012
1. She has mastered the art of hospitality and knows always how to make guests feel welcome. Whether it’s with a home-cooked dinner or a simple pot of a tea, she draws people to her kitchen table and opens them up, spending hours visiting and connecting with people from all walks of life.
2. She is an artist whose life explodes with colour. She splashes it onto canvases, splatters it on her clothes, spreads it on her palette. When not creating paintings, she repaints the walls of her house.
3. She loves to sing, anywhere and anytime and anything. While this can be irritating, it’s usually entertaining. She leads the congregation at church, starts impromptu choirs during road trips and campfires and birthdays, and has an endless knowledge of children’s songs.
4. She’s the best point of reference for all child-related questions. Having raised four kids of her own, she always seems to know what to say when I call, discouraged and frustrated and not knowing how to handle mine.
5. She knows how to find the silver lining in every cloud. Her optimism is contagious. Her tendency to see the best in everyone is unusual and refreshing. Pessimism (or even realism, as my dad jokes) doesn’t exist in her personality.
6. She is tenacious. She’s a believer in just trying, because you never know what can happen, or just asking, because you’ll never know the answer till you do. This insistence on giving everything a shot has opened more doors of opportunity than you’d ever believe.
7. She is a really, really good cook when she puts her mind to it. Her saffron rice pilaf, apple cake, honey-curry baked chicken, macaroni and cheese, and spanakopita are to die for.
8. Her gardens are incredible. You’d never know it, but five years ago, she didn’t even have a garden. Now she heads up the local community gardening project, which is growing exponentially, and her home and gallery are exploding with stunning flowers and teeming with big organic veggies. When she puts her mind to something, she takes it seriously.
9. She is an avid library-user and comes home each week laden with stacks of fascinating, obscure, and random topics. She never stops reading and therefore is constantly surprising me with new nuggets of knowledge that she has gleaned from her wide selection of books. She also hosts a weekly book club at her art gallery.
10. She put her own career on hold to home-school my sister and me when she became deeply unsatisfied with the public school education we were receiving. Once she made that decision, she threw herself wholeheartedly into creating a highly structured, well-researched, Classical-based curriculum from which we learned for five years.
11. She loves silence and believes there is too much noise in the world. She strives to escape the endless roar of loud music, snowmobiles and ATVs, iPods, stereos, traffic, ring tones, buzzes and beeps that dominate our lives nowadays and reminds me of how precious silence truly is.
12. She has traveled the world. She’s visited obscure places, such as Iran, Syria, and Ukraine; wild places like India and Brazil; popular places, such as western Europe and southern USA; rugged places, like Western Canada and the Arabian Desert. As a result, she is open-minded and wholly accepting of people with different ethnic and religious backgrounds.
13. She has had thirty-one happy and successful years of marriage with my father, which has provided me with a great example of how to make a relationship work.
14. She is not afraid of confrontation, or, if she is, she doesn’t show it or shy away from it. If something needs to be said, she says it in a kind and diplomatic way. Keeping emotions bottled up never works, she believes.
15. She loves me, and says it over and over again in both words and actions. Whether I make her proud or disappoint her, it never seems to affect the way she treats me.