By Ryan Miner
It seems like the older we get the less inclined we are to celebrate our birthdays. Our birthdays are subtle reminders of our own mortality. One year older – one year closer to the “big snooze.”
But some birthdays are worth celebrating.
Today my mother, Colleen Bowers, turns 50. Right, right, I understand it’s cultural taboo and somewhat indecorous to broadcast a woman’s age – especially your own mother’s age.
But turning 50 is more than a milestone for my mother. Today I am celebrating her life and the great life she has provided me.
My mother is the strongest woman I know. She may not think she is, but ever since I was a child, I knew she was the rock of the family. I watched her as she discovered that she had to play the role of both mom and dad at times. That wasn’t always easy for her. You see, my mom gave birth to me when she was 19. My mother was just a kid. But she stepped up and did the job she was expected to do.
Don’t blame my mother for how I turned out – whatever that might be. We have only one mother – and she’s the best there is.
My mother learned quickly that life isn’t always isn’t what you expect it to be. I think she learned that life throws plenty of curve balls. And you have to make the best of every situation. She learned to be tough. She had to be tough. My mother rarely, if ever, showed weakness in front of me. She couldn’t. She isn’t programmed to show weakness. Always the rock. Always the steady hand.
My mother and I don’t always agree. In fact, as I write, we haven’t spoke in over a month. The details of why aren’t particularly important. The last time we spoke, however, my mom called me to impart some sage wisdom about a matter that I won’t get into today; instead of digesting her wisdom, I asked her to stop butting in my life as much as I thought she did. What a mistake I made.
But the truth is, I need my mother more than ever now. Just when I thought I had life figured out, I learn that I don’t know the first damn thing about what I’m doing.
That’s why I need my mom.
My mom has been the unchanging, steady rock in my life ever since I was born. No matter what, she has been by my side – through thick and thin. As her child, I’ve probably embarrassed her more times than I wish to share. I’ve made her squirm. I’ve probably disappointed her beyond words. I’ve lied to her. I’ve been cold to her. I’ve uttered some hurtful epithets at her. I’ve failed as her son. She’s been there to bail me out (quite literally).
But never once did my mother think twice. Whatever grave character flaw I’ve been guilty of, she has embraced me. I don’t know why. I cannot understand it. But I presume that her unconditional motherly love has something to do with it.
My mother appreciates brevity so I’ll wrap this up.
Today my mother turns fifty. For the last thirty years, we have been connected by a love that supersedes all else – the unconditional love a mother has for her son and vice versa.
My mother is the most important person on the face of the planet. She’s the strongest woman I know. She’s the most talented person I’ve had the pleasure to know.
And she’s my mother.
What gift from God can be better than Colleen Bowers? The answer is none.
Today you turn 50. If I am able to accomplish only a quarter of what you have done by the time I turn 50, then it would be a miracle.
You’ve had the hardest job in the world for the last thirty years: being my mom. You should be proud of yourself. I am proud of you. I love you.
I’ve tried my best to be the son you have always wanted. Sometimes I have failed. Sometimes I have come up short. But please understand that I have never taken for granted our relationship – sometimes complex, but always rooted in the understanding that we have an unbreakable bond.
Today is your day, Mom. Do whatever it is that makes you happy.
I love you more than you could possibly fathom.
Happy Birthday, Mom.