So, my goal is to update my blog more regularly (especially with this move to Tokyo), and why not start now? Today would have been my mom’s 65th birthday. I’ve been thinking about her a lot as I get ready to embark on this new adventure. I’ve also been thinking a lot about who I am and how I am and my desire to embrace every exciting opportunity that comes my way (even when it scares the crap out of me). I have decided that I learned this from my mother.
The example she set for me at a very young age was that of “doing”. Even as a mother of five, she would go on great adventures with her girlfriends, traveling around Europe and Asia. She took up new hobbies. She got us involved in the things she loved so that she could be a great mom AND follow her own dreams.
Side note: one of my favorite memories from childhood was when she returned from Asia, having gone there with my grandparents to revisit Japan (they lived there for a while…another reason I’m so excited that I’m heading to Tokyo). She came back with beautiful earrings for each of her three girls, and they were pierced earrings. The rule in my family had always been that we could get our ears pierced at the age of 16 (I was 8 at the time), but when she came home with these earrings for each of us, she decided we could all get our ears pierced, and so we did.
Anyway, my point in all of this is that I watched my mom, even with her health issues and her five kids, totally embrace life. She camped with us. She went on trips to exotic and exciting places. She took us on trips. She allowed me, at the age of 14, to go live in a foreign country with a foreign family because it was a dream of mine. I wonder if she had any idea at that point in time how such a decision would shape my life. Probably not, but I think she knew that allowing her children to chase their dreams was important.
And so, 20 years after leaving to live in Belgium for six months, I am heading off to live in Tokyo for six months. There are some similar feelings. I am excited to do something different. I am excited for the opportunity to get to know a different culture first hand. I’m nervous about the language and different customs. And I think I’ve realized that maybe this is such a big deal to me because it’s something my mom would have just loved for me to do. And she would have been on a plane as soon as possible to come see me. And even though she won’t be able to visit me physically, I know she’ll be there with me because she is a part of me.
I love that even after 16 years without her here physically, I can still feel her influence in my life. She is still helping me make decisions and the loudest voice in my head (besides my own) driving me to push through whatever fears I have because “if you don’t try, you’ll never know”. And she’s the voice that calms me in those crazy moments (like right now) and reminds me “it always works out”.
So, as I think about her on her birthday and how much I miss her, I am also so very grateful for the 18 years I had with her and for the memories (both my own and those shared by others) that continue to shape my life.
ETA: I posted a little blurb on FB today and it was so nice to get comments from some of my mother’s friends (the parents of my childhood friends) and my siblings friends, as well as my own, about my mom. Technology truly is fantastic!