You know those long family reunions, where people you barely know trap you with endless stories and bear hugs? Well, my mom loves them. Really.
She's always hatching the next plan to assemble the whole clan. Brothers, grandkids, cousins -- even the second cousins and cousins once removed (and she's the only person I know who can tell the difference). Grilling hamburgers, sipping a beer and swapping story after story after story.
She's never missed a Halloween, or a soccer game, or a birthday. My mom is a family woman, down to her cake-battered sneakers.
Not just in the good times. When her mother died, Mom called her Daddy every single day, often two or three times a day, no matter how busy she was. She called to share a funny little story, or just to check in. She thought it would be just a few weeks to see him through the worst of the grief. But then weeks turned into months, and still she called, 7 days a week. In the end it was more than 2 years, until the grief -- and the cancer -- finally took him.
She talks a lot about her 3 grandkids, but she doesn't talk much about the days when it looked like Grandbaby #3 wasn't going to make it. I was just 20 weeks pregnant when I went into labor, and the doctor thought it was the end. I was put on strict bed rest, and then we started counting the days.
Back at home, I had two older daughters, and they needed a mother who wasn't lying around all day. My Mom came right away to help, and she never missed a beat. She cooked mac n' cheese, drove to swim lessons, and read the bedtime story.
During that time President Obama asked her to launch the new Consumer Protection Bureau. I'm not sure if the White House ever knew what was going on in our home -- I kind of doubt it -- but there was many a phone conversation that went something like, "Just a moment, Mr. Axelrod, I need to take a hot dog out of the toaster."
In the end, Grandbaby #3 held on. Atticus made it to full term, chubby, with a full head of black hair. And his Gammy came to town to cheer him into the world.
When Mom decided to run for Senate, her only real fear was what it would do to her family. Would we get hurt somehow? Would she miss out on too much?
So this is my chance to say: We're behind you all the way. Happy Mother's Day! I love you, Mom!