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She could have been a doctor, but she’s just my mom

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It’s my mom’s birthday today. She is 73. Sorry mom. I suppose divulging your age is the first rule of lady code I just broke.

Well, I say wear your age proudly. Because when you’ve lived 73 years and seen what my mom has seen, I think you just throw your hangups about age out the window.

My mom is my compass. She’s my lighthouse in the dark. She is my mom and that’s my everything.

I am probably one of the luckiest humans to have such a woman in their life that breathes into her hope, inspiration and security.

My mom doesn’t have it easy. She takes care of my sister, who is disabled. Mom has had her own bout of hardships. Three joint replacement surgeries, a life saving surgery when her intestine was blocked and she could have died. OH, and she’s a cancer survivor. So, there’s that.

Also, when you’re born in Frankfurt in 1941 you are surrounded by a world at war. To think this little being and many others like her, came in to this world under Germany’s darkest years. But if there’s a light one can not extinguish even during this dark period, it was my mom coming forth. Little Uta. I think she was born speaking and solving problems, but that’s just my admiration for her. I know she was a regular little girl, a person with her own hopes and dreams before she was my mom. It’s hard for us as children to picture our parents as people. I mean, you’re telling me they had lives before they devoted it all to us? Indeed. This is a hard fact for my own children to accept sometimes. When you wear the badge of ‘MOM’ it’s hard to be seen as anything else.

Sure like other children, I have fond memories of the way my mom smelled (Chanel No 5 during the 70s) and the smells of her kitchen too. We would have her homemade pizza every Saturday night. We watched the Muppet Show from our kitchen table my dad built. Kermit was smaller then on the 18 inch color television that wasn’t even remote control yet.

But I also have memories of my mom when I was in high school and college. The morning after a late night out, she would sit on my bed while I would sip a cup of tea she brought me. I’d share details of the night like I would share to a girl friend. I would preface certain stories with, “Okay, you’re not my mom right now, what I’m going to tell you.” And she would listen without raising an eyebrow. She didn’t judge or scoff. Let’s be real though. I was a pretty square kid. I didn’t really drink, I never did drugs, I was usually home by midnight, and my male conquests were theater boys I would crush on from afar only to find out they were gay. Translation- I didn’t get much action in college!

So there really wasn’t a whole lot for her to judge me on anyway. BUT, I still felt comfortable sharing all my funny stories, crazy happenings when there were some, and girl to girl details only other women get.

I remember one time either in my early adult years or when I was still in high school, my mom and I were having a heart to heart. In one of her somewhat bleak moments, she said to me with tears in her eyes, “You know, I could have been a lot of things. Maybe a doctor. Maybe a scientist. But I’m just a mom.”

It broke my heart. How could this woman not be satisfied with anything more than being my mom?! Had she been a career woman and not stayed home with her kids, what would life have been like? Selfishly, I was glad this was all she was. My mom. Our mom.

But I told her that she is more than ‘Just a Mom’. She is patience, and trust, nurture and light. She helps the downtrodden, she advocates for the helpless. She friends the homeless and the addicts. She counsels the stranger she strikes up conversation with.

She is an amazing woman that is more than just a mom. But a person who betters this world just by living in it. She raised me and my brother and sister. She looks after my dad and is his partner of 55 years. She reads and swallows up information by the libraries. She is one of the smartest people I know. She can cook up a pie crust and help you with your 401(k) paperwork. I don’t know how this woman does it.

Did I mention she moved here from Germany when she was 17 after marrying my dad? They had my brother a few years later and within less than 10 years had their own two children and fostered troubled children. Mixed race children in the 60s! They took a road trip with their black foster daughter and their own two children down to Atlanta. The guts they had. This is how my parents live. By example.

So yeah. You turn 73 with 3 grown kids of your own, 4 grandchildren, a husband you’ve been married to for 55 years; you wear that age proudly.

And mom,  if you ever think you’re ‘just a mom’ and there was something else you could have been, think for a minute the lives you’ve touched. The ripple effect of what your living has created. How there should be more people like you that are as selfless, reliable and loving. I have never been more proud of you to just be my mom.

Happy birthday.


She could have been a doctory but she's just my mom by Frugalista Blog

My mom in the 1950s.

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  1. I have tears with this beautiful tribute to your mom. She sounds like a wonderful lady. I hope I can be the examples that your parents are for you. Happy birthday, Uta! Thanks for this pick me up today. It was needed.

  2. Well, I’m sitting here bawling!

  3. Real Life Parenting says:

    Oh, Frugie!! I love your mom through you!! Wishing her a very happy birthday!

  4. I’m honored to share a birthday with such an awesome lady!! Happy Birthday, Uta!!

  5. Sis

    But she’s not just a mom. She’s the lady who brings the thermos of coffee to the bread guy at the farmers’ market on Saturday mornings. She’s the lady who knows everybody in the grocery store and takes you forever to get any grocery shopping done. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.


  6. Kathy at kissing the frog says:

    She is amazing. No wonder you are such a great person with a mom like her. Give her a birthday hug from me.

  7. Just beautiful. She’s lucky to have such a wonderful daughter who appreciates all “just a mom” did for her. Happy Birthday to your mama! She’s 73 years young!

  8. Beautiful tribute to an amazing woman. She will never be “just a mom.” Sadly, a lot of woman feel this way. We need to be empowered as mothers. Happy Birthday to your Ma!

  9. That was beautiful. Your mom is awesome!

  10. sandy tabick says:

    beautiful and brilliant words about my very dearest and best friend, sister, and darling dearest lady, yes, she could have been many things, but she is the best of the best at being just who she is, yesterday, today and always…. and yes, wear those 73 years woth honor, reign with all the love you’ve always shown and the dignity you bring to each life you touch…..

  11. 1. I say it a lot when I read of amazing bloggers giving props to their amazing parents – but you’re the legacy, you know. Those amazing traits are swimming around in you too.

    2. During those times my oldest goes on and on and on and on about what happened with friends, I have to remember how fortunate I am that she talks me. Because I am.

    3. Just a mom? That’s like saying that’s just a gold nugget. Or Christmas is just a holiday. Or Pippa Middleton had just another butt. Understatements of the year.