My physical features immediately pinpoint that I am hers: light skin, short stature and something around the nose when we smile. But were we on paper, it would be harder to distinguish a connection between my mother and me. I'm not shy, nor do I have the compassionate spirit she possesses. I'm more rebellious than she, and certainly more brash. She is practical, and I follow my whims. She has the patience to teach, I must do.
While many of my mother's characteristics didn't trickle through, she did pass down this: a love for the little things. When it's all said and done, it's the little things which make the memories that matter. Things like hanging the same golden birthday banner up every year...even when it's falling pieces. Gestures like slipping notes into each other's lunches, or suitcases before a long trip. Traditions that are humorously, ceremoniously upheld, like cheese-spreads and herring on Christmas Eve or bonfires in the summer. Annual fall trips to a small park in the middle of nowhere only to pump water at an old well, then drive home. It's spontaneity in the smallest of ways that makes memories; waking me up in the middle of the night to drive north and watch the northern lights. Flailing furiously in the winter's first snowfall, making angels at midnight on a school night.
Happy fiftieth birthday, mama. I pray for fifty more years of little things...time for me to learn, to discover how to love like you do.
(I swear this banner is as old as me.)