Anyone who knows Judy, knows that you are far more likely to see her repairing a leak, laying flooring, sewing clothes for her grandkids, tearing apart a washing machine or scouring thrift shops for treasures for the people she loves, repairing broken beach chairs…than you are to see her dressing up for an Unveil your Cinderella portrait day. And that’s why I love this portrait line…it brings out the inner princess in everyone who steps before my lens! Judy searched for inspiration for her special day and knew she had found it when she envisioned her own epic parachute dress. Yes, this is a real parachute you see above and she went through painstaking efforts to dye it her favorite purple color and then transform it into wearable fashion! By painstaking, I mean envision a giant cauldron, outdoors in the freezing winter, being dunked over and over again. Why not indoors? Impossible to fit this amount of fabric and not stain everything in its vicinity with purple. So if you ever wondered where my crazy comes from, meet my awesome mom who I honor on this Mother’s Day! 😉
My mom is one of those rare breeds of people who will jump right into whatever mess you have going on in your life and offer a helping hand. She’ll scour the countryside for just the thing you’ve been searching for and if she can’t find it, she’ll order it for you (including cases of Zapp’s vodoo chips!) Over the years, she’s assisted on countless home improvement projects (although one involved an incident with a exacter knife which left her minus a pinkie finger). She was instrumental in keeping my home afloat when I was on bed rest with my twins. Her love and devotion pours out on whoever she happens to be doing life with at the time. Of course her family gets the lion’s share of that and for that we are all so thankful!
Years ago my mom told me that she was going to live out all the things she always wished she had been able to do with me, my brother and sister when we were little but that circumstances did not allow for. That’s a lofty goal that many hope for, but few actually achieve. The memory making list for her grandchildren could fill a book. She’s designed box robots, sliding board bed attachments, Thomas the Tank Engine costumes, pipe mazes, magnet boards, pirate ships, army camps, display shelves for what was most precious to the child. She’s hosted countless trips to the beach, bowling alley, Panera, Jungle Jim’s, dug for worms to go fishing, sledded, learned how to make balloon animals then flew in to surprise grandkids at their birthday party (in full clown costume). She’s researched the best magic tricks and science tricks for kids then found lab coats and put on shows with her grandkids in the starring roles for captive parents. She’s captured frogs and brought them to her grands. She’s scoured the Goodwills for books and hobbies that matched each grandchild. She’s sent regular care packages of surprises to bridge the gap when more miles than she would have chosen separated her from all of us. She has stepped into her kids, grandkids and great grandkids lives in ways that make them know, without a doubt, their Mimi always has their back and loves them with a fierce devotion.
In the midst of making memories with her grandkids and now great grandkids, Judy has walked through a very difficult last few years. She lost her baby brother unexpectedly and has had to transition her very challenging mother into assisted living. This continues to be a strain on her, but is something she does because she knows it’s the right thing to do. I have a sneaking suspicion that her absolute delight with her grandkids is helping to make up for the lost years of her own childhood. She knows how quickly those years pass and wants to log as many memories with her grands as she can. Judy spent her childhood helping to raise her 3 brothers when her single mom was overwhelmed and often MIA. In the midst of helping to raise her brothers, she became a teen mom (with me) and had to step full blown into the role of an adult at 16 with a job and her own apartment.
As we reviewed her portraits, my mom got choked up seeing herself laughing and smiling. There was no grandchild prompting this genuine response, just her living out loud and loving life. She said it was a reminder to her, that although she’s walked through darkness in losing her brother, her laughter and joy will bubble up unexpectedly. Her joy is a welcome reminder that though tears may come at night, joy comes in the morning.
So, here’s a little inside peek at my mom, who I cannot thank enough for all her encouragement and acts of love and service. I’ll wrap up with a top 10 Letterman style I wrote for her 60th a few years ago…
You might Mimi if
- you are due to get on a plane to Houston in 2 hours, but decide it’s the perfect time to start creating kickball bases for the boys at your going away party.
- you know more about most home remodeling/repair/electrical supplies than 80% of the Lowe’s employees.
- you have more sewing machines than Joanne Fabrics.
- you still scour the Goodwills for Bill Cosby comedy albums 30 years after the albums went out of production.
- you kept a dodge van running longer than most Hondas.
- you will walk several blocks loaded down with beach gear to save on parking at the beach.
- you have clearly entered into some mystery agreement with God to have any random thing, any given person could need, on any given day right in the back of your van.
- you don’t get squeamish when hearing a child say, ‘wanna play Monopoly, again?’
- you didn’t look at me like I was crazy when I said, ‘we are going to need 80 more yards of tulle to finish this dress bottom!’
- you were able to convince one of your grandsons that liver was a good thing and he’d get to be in the liver club with you if he ate it!
I love you Mom and it makes me smile very widely to know that we all have this treasure of you, because you are our treasure!