My mom has a warmth and an inherent beauty that captivates. If you’ve met her, you know what I am talking about. Her charm knows no limits, and pulls you into her orbit of radiant grace. Then she turns around and outdrives you on the golf course. She really is awe-inspiring. I remember watching her once hit three consecutive bull’s-eyes in darts on her first try, ever, at a target. My dad and I proudly chuckled as the other men in the bar picked up their jaws from the peanut strewn floor.
This awesome athlete came to the United States via Belgium to train for the 1964 Olympics in diving. While Olympic politics prevented her from having the chance to compete, training here made it possible for her to meet my dad, and win his unending love and affection. They are close to hitting the fifty-year mark, and that devotion is an inspiration and model for my own marriage.
My mom can also cook four course meals with ease. She always set our table with formal Flemish tradition mixed with California-Girl good vibrations style— yes, at heart she’s a California girl. Enchanted, I would watch as she gathered wild branches on afternoon walks and use them to decorate our mantle in such a gorgeous way. I wonder now, if she knew she was being studied by her youngest.
Mom taught us to have a great faith, to love unconditionally, to do anything we wanted to do with our lives, and she led by example. When my mom sees a need, she jumps right in and helps, one person at a time. I have watched my mother reach out to so many— the mentally ill, the child in need, the underprivileged— and work with her own hands and heart to make their lives better.
I think of her every night when I gently tuck my girls in, covering them close with bedspreads the same way she did to us at night. She has loved us completely and totally, and I have never doubted her devotion for a moment. She challenges my sisters and me to try something new everyday. She continues to be my inspiration to learn, love, give, try, create and believe…everyday.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.