I chose to wait until today to write about my mom on purpose.
Because today, my mom is here to visit for the whole weekend!
I'm going to flood this post with pictures again because mom is a little hard to describe. She's fun, she's energetic, she's a little ADD, she's loving and compassionate, not afraid to get her hands dirty, and so many other things. Hopefully the pictures will help you understand the gift that is Joanne a little bit better.
Joanne's sense of humor is not quite like anyone else's I know (except all the people we're related to). We often use the phrase in our world, "(S)he's one of us." It's a phrase meant not to include or exclude anyone; rather it is a statement about they way we see the world. Essentially, mom, Annie, me, and the rest of mom's siblings view the world as a funny place. Things like this picture (below) are the types of things we not only find funny, but take the time to snap a phone picture and text to one another:
My mom has a child-like sense of fun. Some of her favorite things to do involve roller coasters, wave runners, Spoons, practical jokes, and other high-adrenaline activities. Like this one:
She just enjoys life wherever she goes. She makes her own fun, and I love that she taught Annie and me to do the same.
My mom LOVES being Finley's grandma. When Annie was pregnant, she always said she wasn't excited about being a grandma because "babies are boring." She said, "I didn't like you two when you were babies and you think I'm going to like THIS one?" This picture tells a different story. She loves it! Of course it helps that Finley is tons of fun, but I really think even if he were a high maintenance kid, she'd love it. She's doing everything she knows to do to make Ella feel like a "legitimate" grandchild, too. She sends her cards and packages, hugs on her when Ella will let her, plans things for her to do when we visit. It brings a smile to my face the way she has welcomed Ella into her life. I'm sure it's hard to have an instant grandchild of 6, but she's done a really good job with it. Ella really enjoys both of my parents and asks when we can go visit them again.
It's no big secret that it was my mom who taught Annie and me to love the Cardinals. Mom was the first to teach us the basic rules of the game. She was the one who "drug" us (as if we minded) to Spring Training. She is the one that gets us the fantastic seats at Busch Stadium. We are a Cardinal loving family, and that is largely due to mom. (I can't figure out why this insisted on being underlined; sorry!)
Joanne is fantastically compassionate! The box above is a giant box of canned green beans. It was what she asked for for Christmas 2 years ago. Not because she loves green vegetables, but because she wanted to take them to the homeless feeding program she serves. She does it every month, without fail. She schedules other things around it. She won't come see me (or even Finley!) on a "Centenary weekend" because she is committed to one little act of making some homeless peoples' lives better. And it's not just food to her. It's an open door. A chance to feel like someone cares for an hour or so. She knows their names, their stories; she puts them to work (says it makes them feel needed and they love it). It would be fair to say this is the extent of her compassion. She views the world this way: What can I do to make someone's life better? And she lives it daily.
Family is so important to Joanne! She loves her siblings immensely. She longs for times when we can "all be together as a family." She treasures every opportunity she gets for things like that, especially as they get fewer and further between. Stinking kids had to go and move 5 hours apart in opposite directions, huh mom?
I just like this picture because it shows you the physical disparity in everything about my parents. Whoever said you grow to look like one another the longer you live together obviously never met Joanne and Myron!
Joanne, thanks for all the amazing things you've taught me! Thanks for being my mom, my friend, my teacher, and my example. I always knew I learned a lot from you, but I had no idea how much until I started raising a tall, skinny, smart, sassy little girl of my own! Let me go on record as saying I'm sorry for how challenging I made your day at times. But let me also go on record as saying I hope you enjoyed having a daughter like me as much as I love having a daughter like Ella. I love you more than I can tell you. Thanks for everything!