"I think you want me to get married after school, have kids and live in Cleveland forever!" I shouted at my mother during a post-adolescent fit years ago.
I was 22. Flexing some of my first real independence, I told her I was going to move to Miami, FL before I graduated. At the time, I had meant the statement as a pejorative. Nothing felt more trapping and terrifying than getting married and having babies in Ohio. Part of me felt like this was obvious.
She surprised me by replying: "So what if I do?"
The elephant was out of the closet. She and I had drastically different visions for how our lives would go forward,. At least we'd both had the courage to admit it.
It was the first of many times I'd makes life choice she (and my father) didn't totally understand. It was the first of many times she would embrace me with infinite arms of understanding.
Even from generic astrological terms, my mom and I are nearly opposite. She's an earthy, practical, organized, nurturing, Capricorn. She had me at the ripe age of 23... the age she began following her dream of having a home and a family. Almost on the other side of the chart is me, a Leo. Dreamy, passionate, messy, and individualistic. Also at the age of 23, I began following my dream of travel, exploration and art.
In Miami, Florida.
(I did go, and I did graduate).
In other ways we are ridiculously similar. She's a child-whisperer. She believes in magic. She loves making things.
Yesterday she turned 62. I can hardly stand it. She barely looks older than 50. This photo was taken of us outside of TOMS Austin in 2016, not long after I had partnered with them on interactive coloring mugs for their One for One campaign.
I love this dang picture. It reminds me of how much we love each other, because of our differences... not in spite of them. It reminds me that as her dreams of supporting her family have come true... mine of having an artistic voice have come true as well. Everything about my work and art began with the knowledge that it was safe to be myself. I can always count on her to support me, cherish who I am, and be proud.
The older I get, the more I realize that parents like this are tremendously special. On this day I want to celebrate her with you.
Happy (belated) birthday Momma,
I love the heck out of you.