But it has everything to do with wishing my mother a happy 60th birthday!
As I get older, I really appreciate everything that my mother did for me as a kid. Some days I feel like I can barely dress myself and make it to work on time, but my mom worked ridiculously long hours and still managed to make time to attend all of my school events, go on field trips, and pack my lunch every day. (along with a nice little love note - I thought it was a little corny at the time, but I'd kill for someone to put a note in my lunch these days)
My mother is an incredibly strong woman who has gone through an awful lot in her lifetime. As the daughter of overprotective immigrants, her childhood wasn't as fun as it could have been, and I think my mom made an extra effort to make sure I could do every sport or activity I wanted to since she hadn't been able to do anything herself. She instilled a very strong work ethic in me from a very young age. (I dare say an Irish Tiger Mom?) She held me to high academic standards and was extremely strict. At the time, I thought she was being overpotective, but as an adult, I'm thankful that she tried to shelter me from the bad things that happen in the world.
My mom started her career almost immediately after high school and tought me the importance of hard work and earning your own way. I scoffed at her thrifty ways when I was younger ( "but Mooooommmm! everyone else has expensive tennis shoes), but now I understand why she did the things she did, including what I considered to be excessive couponing at the time. (I still refuse to use coupons, Mom, sorry) I got a job as soon as I could in high school and learned that the world was a much bigger place than my high school. (thank goodness, because if the world were like Eastlake, it would be a pretty awful place)
As with any other mother daughter relationship, my mom and I went through our hard times. We're complete opposites in just about every possible way, and we often butted heads when I was in high school and college. My mom was gracious enough to allow me to live at home during college as long as I kept a full time job and paid all of my bills. However, to teach me responsibility, my mother forced me to move out a few months after I graduated college. I had recently started a very low paying job at the company I still work at and had to pick up a part time job to be able to afford to live on my own. At the time, I thought my mom was being completely unreasonable, but now I see that she wanted to teach me how to be independent. It was a tough time in my life, but completely worth it. Learning the value of my own money allowed me to buy a house the year after graduation and save up enough to be able to pay for grad school without loans.
I could go on and on about how my mother has helped me get through every catastropic event in my life, whether real or overexaggerated. She has the patience of a saint to listen to me but can still provide harsh advice when necessary. She's my biggest cheerleader (has your mother bicycled alongside you in a marathon to make sure you don't die?) and my biggest critic (don't you think you should grow out your hair a little?) and I wouldn't have it any other way. I wish everyone were as lucky as I am to have a mother like mine.