I have a really excellent mom.
To some people, that probably sounds simplistic, perhaps to the point of being childish. To others, it might sound like hyperbole.
But it's true. My mom -- well -- she's a really excellent mom.
And I don't feel this way just because she's my mother, and my mind is filled with sunny, greeting-cardish recollections of days past, seen through an affectionately skewed lens.
I feel this way because my mom's just a really excellent woman. A really excellent person.
She's a great conversationalist, and an even better listener. I'll freely admit we've had more than one single-sided conversation across the old kitchen table where the entirety of her contribution was a brief question or nod of recognition while I spoke, but she let me say what I had to say, even if my side was about nothing at all, and even if I went into extra innings.
She's got her opinions, but she'll let you have yours, and that's a big deal to those of us who aren't in the business of changing our minds without a fight.
She has a wide-open heart, a courageous spirit and an inquisitive mind. I am constantly blown away by her eagerness to learn about people and places and things that are sometimes not merely foreign, but perhaps even alien to a Southwest Nebraskan, and I strive to have a sliver of her intense curiosity.
She worries about things - some as big as the world, some as small as a seed - but there is no doubt the woman has an unshakable faith that everything will ultimately turn out for the best.
She bakes mighty fine apple pies. And cherry ones, too.
She taught me the basics of making good fried chicken, just like her mom taught her.
She gives magnificent hugs.
And when she says she loves you, you can't help but know it's true.
Happy Mother's Day, mom, and thank you for all you have given me.