Ok, I have to do my Day 29 installment: a person I love. Um, I feel great pains about playing favorites in any way, so whoever did the last nice thing for me is going to win... Come on down to the front, Mom, you surprise bringer of Reese's peanut butter eggs, you!
Seriously, though, my mom is one of the nicest people I've ever met. She went so above and beyond when we were little, it was crazy: I don't even ATTEMPT to recreate my childhood for my kids, because I am just not that patient/creative/generous with my free time. Or maybe my kids are harder and I am more tired. We'll just say a little of both. :)
She home schooled my two younger sisters and me until high school, including all kinds of field trips and unit studies and vacations (well, Dad came on those too!) planned elaborate tea parties and birthday parties and Christmas-in-July parties and slumber parties with out friends, sewed us matching outfits (wait, maybe that was CRUEL...) made us clothes and food and furniture for our American Girl dolls, and searched yard sales and thrift stores for awesome prom and bridesmaid dresses to add to our dress up clothes box. She baked the best oatmeal raisin cookies every week, without ever looking at the recipe, which amazed me. The week we all had chicken pox she went to the library and rented every single musical they had so that we wouldn't get bored on the couch.
She used to load our bikes into the back of her station wagon and drive us to safe neighborhoods so we could learn to ride somewhere besides our own somewhat dangerous-traffic-area street. We went to the library every week and came home loaded with books, and Mom never even looked for herself, just helped us choose what WE wanted. She let us redecorate/rearrange/switch roommates in our bedrooms whenever we felt like it. On Saturday nights after our baths I remember her spending ages braiding our hair into many tiny little braids so that it would be wavy the next day for church, just like we wanted.
I don't think it even occurred to me until I was about ten or eleven that maybe Mom would like to have a life beyond taking care of us three 24/7. By the time I was in high school, I actually felt relief that she had gotten a job during our school hours... I was starting to feel guilty and worried that she had no mental outlet and that we might soon drive her slap out of her mind! She has worked outside the home ever since, but it has never altered her priorities: anytime we've needed anything as adults, she's still there in whatever capacity we need without a second thought. I can't even imagine how difficult my pregnancies would have been without her (and other family member's!) help. It amazes me to think that she handled three little girls (ages four and under!) as well as a stepdaughter without any help at all from family, and really without much familiarity regarding the sibling dynamic, since she'd grown up an only child.
So, thanks for the peanut butter eggs, Mom, and all the talks on all the road trips, and all the advise, and all the hugs, and all the times you've felt even worse for me than I felt for myself! It's pretty invaluable to know that no matter what, someone is ALWAYS on your side. Even if you're wrong.