Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. She has always been a scientist at heart and firmly believes learning does not end when “school time” does. She lives as if life is an adventure with field research and experiments and a soundtrack and sound effects. Although she is an almost-irrepressible optimist, I remember a few times she was discouraged or frustrated or stressed.
If I could send an encouraging note back about 20 years, here is what I would say:
You really are making a difference but it takes a while to see it. We do listen but do not always do what you say at first… That will be evident when we grow up and quote your words back to you or to others. From you we learn how to be lifelong learners, adventurers, and experimenters.
I eventually grow out of being quite so prissy and germophobic, but some of your medical stories still gross me out. Sara’s bedside manner becomes more compassionate. People say she sounds and acts more like you all the time. Luke stops being scared of strangers and ends up being very good at public speaking. He is a hard worker, too. Ben still loves spending time with people but learns what subjects not to bring up in polite conversation. He listens when you tell him not to comment on a lady’s age, weight, or her very nice facial hair.
All four of us will forever remember the one time you “lose it” and stomp your foot and shout at us. Don’t worry too much about that when it happens; we laugh about the story and use it to tell people you have the occasional frustrating day too.
We still like our family and enjoy getting together, even though visits and calls are not as often as you or Dad may like. We have built our own lives though, made our own choices, and made the faith we learned from you our own. Thanks for not giving up!