Ode to the Jode


I've had a lot of reasons to take an inventory of my blessings lately, campers...and today I'd like to celebrate one of the greatest blessings in my life: my mom! The Jodester is celebrating her birthday today, and, to quote Papa Bear, "This is the second-most important day of the year, only after Christmas!" (To be frank, he might be wrong about that. My mother's birth might actually supersede the birth of the Christ Child himself. Blasphemy? Possibly, but I'd put money on Jodes any day.)

Parenthetical asides aside, I am so intensely happy that Mom's birthday falls today, of all days. The last few days and weeks have slapped me in the face repeatedly with the fact that I won the lottery of parents. 

Nothing can really encapsulate how incredible my mom is or how great our relationship is. I was never really the clichéd high schooler who hated her mom because it was en vogue to do so. I tended to appreciate the kind of mother who thought after-school Caramel Coolers were totally fair game, who devoted countless hours to teaching me to drive (more patiently than Dad, might I add), volunteering at debate and speech tournaments, and listening to me practice the piccolo...let's be real, that alone should fast-track her for sainthood!

I talked to my mom literally every day in college and almost every day that I was abroad in London...and often, it'd be more than once. It's a tradition we've carried through to adulthood with remarkable success. She was and still is the first person I want to share my triumphs with, be it a great grade on a test, my job offers from my Big 4 or new job, or conquering my ineptitude in the kitchen. She is the first person I take my fears, frustrations, and failures to...not just for a comforting pep talk but for true advice and constructive criticism when it's merited. And she is the only person I am ever going to be comfortable sharing every hurt with...from childhood bruises to broken elbows to broken hearts.

I  think, however, it takes that first taste of adulthood to truly appreciate the magic that is a mother. The older I've gotten and the more I've struck out on my own and experienced independence, the healthier and richer our relationship has grown. We have a level of candor and honesty with one another that resonates on every level. With the perspective of my own half-baked attempts to be an adult, I can look at my mom and not just see "my mom." Instead, I'm learning to see everything that has made her the woman that she is...a woman who is my mom, but is also her own person. 

Before this devolves too far into the realms of Hallmark saccharine, here's to you, Mom...to the person who is the life of the party, the backbone of our family, and the brightest spot in my world. They always say that at some point, women turn into their mothers. Personally, I can't wait for that day to come. :)

Love you SO much! Happy birthday!