Saturday, February 8, 2014

To my Beautiful Mom on her Birthday

My mom, me, and my sister Julie in our favorite vacation spot, Door County, Wisconsin.

It is my mom's birthday today. She is in sunny Florida, and I am in snowy Chicago. But, no matter how many miles may be between us, she is near to my heart. And that is not just a cliche. I have always been adored my mom.

Growing up, my mom seemed invincible. She and my dad were both school teachers. I loved to visit her classroom to help decorate or stamp papers or cut out construction paper letters, and watch her bustle around the empty classroom. Her students adored her. She would set up her classroom in such an inviting way that they loved coming to special education class. Some of them would even try to fake a learning disability just to be with Mrs. Storms. She had creative reward systems that motivated them. She cared about each one personally. For many years of her career, she taught at a private school, Glenwood School for Boys. Many of the boys came from difficult backgrounds and my mom became a sort of mother to them as well.

Two brothers who were in my mom's Glenwood class, Vito and Joe Delcore. Their family was originally from Italy, and their mother, who didn't speak a great deal of English, had just recently moved to the United States. She was so grateful for my mom's care for her sons that she baked and sent a lasagna meal to the school for her class. It was the most delicious Italian meal I have ever eaten, and the two brothers shone with pride at getting to feed their beloved teacher.

My mom was always the center of fun. She moved fast, had a positive attitude, and liked adventure. When we were little, we would have to do a little leap every few steps to keep up with her quick walking stride. But when mom went somewhere, we always wanted to go with because we knew something exciting would happen. Even an ordinary camping trip, with no electricity and freezing temperatures, turned into an adventure with my mom. After my dad burned off his eyebrows while attempting to light our gas camp stove, my mom hustled us into the station wagon and into the sleepy town to look for fun and heat.

We found a German bakery and a cozy restaurant where we watched the falling leaves and life didn't seem so bad after all. Later, snuggled into our chilly camper beneath piles of blankets and sleeping bags, I knew I wouldn't trade my family for anything.

My mom has walked through good times and very hard times, staying steady in her faith and positive in her spirit. She has always put us kids first, and always given so much love to our family.

I hope you know, mom, how much we all adore you.

Happy Birthday!
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