a tribute.

Ode to my inspiring, giving, hilarious mother. She carried me into this world - she still carries me. When I was young, all I wanted was to match her and be near her all of the time; we all got new bathrobes one Christmas and I was thrilled that we both had pink ones - to this day I hope to walk my life as she walks, so gracefully and organically and selflessly.

There was no one who could soothe tears at night like she could; no monster too big, no thought too scary, no restlessness too impossible to cure. Countless nights of backrubs and book reading and story telling and prayers, so much prayer. There are vivid memories of laying on our stomachs by our fireplace reading the Narnia series and "Little Women". I remember laying in my bed when I was in kindergarten - my blanket was that white eyelet one with the lace ruffle - and reading one of those cardboard-page books, a Sesame Street book called "Who am I" and reading out loud to mom for the first time. I was so proud to show her that I could read.

I remember a particular bout with the flu or scarlet fever it could have been... whatever the ailment, we were up until sunrise, and I can distinctly remember eating orange popsicles and pulling the couch to the porch windows to watch the sun come up above the mountains because we had been up all night. I feel bad for all of the countless nights she has stayed up with me and held my hair back as I get sick and put up with my groaning; mom will account that as one of her most special moments with me.

And there have been infinite trips to Bellevue and Seattle; visions of heaven as a child while walking through the Barbie aisle of FAO Schwartz the day after American Thanksgiving; making "princess beds" at Mimi's; french onion soup at Red Robin's; going to Nordstrom and drinking obscene amounts of lattes. Dreaded bra fittings. Finding my grad dress with her. To tell the truth, time in the car with mom driving down to her home holds some of the most influential and cherished conversations of my life.

My school days, ironically, were filled with a lot of days not in school. Generally finding highschool irrelevant and quite oppressive, mum would allow me some breathing space and schedule chiropractic appointments to miss a class or two... or schedule hair appointments in Burnaby, or we'd go to IKEA and Joey Tomato's. I remember one particular Tuesday opting out of school in favor of driving down to Seattle for free tickets to Dave Matthews and the Rolling Stones. In my education's defence, no one has taught me more and no one has left an imprint on my life than this woman.

Nothing gets past Kath-girl. No wrong doing, no mistake, no feeling of regret of mine has ever gotten past her. When I was in grade two I wrote in my school journal that at Thanksgiving we had gone to a homeless shelter and my best friend Lael and I had taken care of all of the newborns; on "Show your parents everything you've learned and all your homework and artwork and stuff" day, mom went straight for the journal (she insists just because kids do say the darndest things), and found my blatant lies. I had to sit down with my teacher and apologize [sorry, Mrs. Peck]. I can pretty accurately say that any time I have been determined to cry myself to sleep, mom musters up some frightening intuition and comes into my room for a chat. There was one particular time in grade twelve, I was at basketball practice and I was an absolute  wreck - I was losing sleep over some guy that had broken my heart, stressed out from school, working too much, generally carrying way more than necessary, and my body freaked out. My legs were shaking and I couldn't stand, I was hyperventilating. I called mom to ask if she could pick me up and she said, "I'm in the parking lot waiting for you - I just knew that I had to come get you." "Mom just knows everything" is a phrase very true and very often quoted in the Janz house; I am so grateful for this crazy trait of hers, it has been a tool of grace and safety and accountability in my life, I know it.

With her roots and foundation firmly started in the northwest of the US with their strong coffee culture, I have been well versed from a very early age about coffee - and perfect mugs, and the importance and privilege of putting in your own cream. To this day one of the greatest treats in the world is to make a pot of coffee and sit on our couch for hours and hash out the world's problems with mom. Those times I hold so very close to my heart.

And there is no one who has created greater space for me to be myself, discover myself, find myself. I left for a month when I was fourteen to Ontario, an event that has impacted me so significantly that I now pay rent and work in the province and live with dear friends from that very first year; instead of keeping me where she could see me, she let me go - she has always let me go. And here I am, in this crazy year of creating this environment for myself where I am figuring everything out on my own and making every decision from grocery lists to where to live and what to pursue and how to get by; I have all of this freedom to "do whatever I want" and yet, the last few weeks especially, I have been overwhelmed with this certainty that I would give anything to be back in our house in Langley with mom listening to me when I ramble and reassuring me when I have emptied all of my thoughts, telling me that it's all going to be alright.

AND SO. A toast to you, mom. You are wise and brave and strong, you are beautiful and resilient, you are the most selfless person I know. Being far away for this long makes me more and more aware of the incredible space you take up in my heart and how blessed I am to have the relationship that I do with you. Thank you for all that you do and all that you have done.

be celebrated today like you ought to everyday.

Posted on May 9, 2010 and filed under from jess-.