Today is my mother's birthday.
Of course, she's not just my mum. I share her with my two younger siblings, as well as a string of older foster brothers, and a plethora of "local teenagers," many of whom now have children of their own and are scattered far and wide. When the whole world was a mass of chaos, darkness, and fear, Mum managed to make a haven and a second home for dozens of young people for twenty odd years.
My entire life, I heard "If you want to get out, you have to get educated." "You're in charge of your life as soon as you set foot out that door: if you want to stay in charge of it, make sure you're educated." I spent some of the only happy moments of my childhood (aside from when I was dancing) in various corners of the library and hiding away in my room, my nose buried in a book in part because of that admonition. When I left home, I pursued my higher education with zeal and passion, my mother's admonitions in my ears.
She did more than admonish or advice, though. When the time came and she had the chance, she put herself back in school, fighting to earn the keys to her own kingdom one exam, one essay at a time.
And homeschooling my brother.
And continuing, without fail, to make both home and haven where ever she is, for whoever is near by.
My mother is a warrior who wields a wooden spoon. A general who waves books instead of firing bullets. She is clever, kind, and tough. On this day, the wonderful day she was born, I hope that everyone in her life is able to give just a little bit of the love she so willingly shares back to her.
I love you, Mum. May your day be as bright as your spirit, a day no one could forget.