I can’t write about my mother on Mother’s Day. My daughter? Oh, yes. The person who makes me such a lucky mother.
Here’s what Tara has always been and is now:
Creative. Hundreds of examples, but one I remember clearly is the time when she was about 8 and I was sleeping late on a Saturday. When I roused myself, the dog was licking my face. And clipped to the dog’s collar was my wedding veil, complete with big lace bow. When I rubbed my eyes, I realized that Spooky was also wearing big white polka dots all over her black fur (they were supposed to be price stickers from an upcoming garage sale). Tara had dressed up Spooky and paraded her around the neighborhood, to great appreciation that I heard about later.
Smart. When she was 2 ½, she knew our full names, our street address, city and state, our telephone number, and the name of the ad agency where her daddy worked. “Hello,” she said to a strange man in the airport waiting room. “My name is Tara ________. Want to see me do a puzzle?” Whereupon she whipped out a puzzle designed for much older children and slapped it together before he had a chance to say “No, thanks.”
Somewhat shocking. (Same flight; different puzzle.) Tara is putting a puzzle together on her tray table when half of it accidentally falls off onto the floor of the plane. “Shit!” yells out the adorable toddler to the quietest passengers on any plane that ever flew.
Funny. No one can make me laugh at myself harder than she can.
Generous. The first indication was the sign she hand-printed for Santa Claus when she had just turned 4. “Santa Enjoe yor Cookes. Tara.” Five minutes later, it seemed, she was baking cookies for firemen, serving the homeless, helping old ladies (besides us), always choosing the perfect gift for someone, and endlessly giving of her time to provide company and comfort to those who need it.
Happy. She makes the deliberate choice, more than nine times out of ten. In recent times, that has included having cancer, being rear-ended twice in a month, having her identity stolen, and being laid off. “I’m getting sick of counting my blessings,” she said not too long ago. Laughing.
Loving. I can’t adequately describe how loving she is to her mothers, her other family members, her friends, and animals.
Loyal. Got some faults? If she loves you, and there’s a good chance she does, Tara will stick by you anyway, and will never badmouth you behind your back.
An excellent teacher. A couple of years ago, her other mother and I were privileged to sit in the back of one of her college classes and watch her teach. I was terrified that I might be called on, but so proud of the way she drew everyone else out and made them think and respected them that I could have put my head down on the desk and cried.
Faithful and full of faith. Several years ago, after a long and thoughtful search, Tara converted to Judaism. At the beginning of a religious service, there’s a prayer that includes, she explained to me, bowing to your angels. I’ve watched her, and I think she can see them. I know they see her.
Happy Mother’s Day, Tara Cat. You’re the best kid ever. Love you past the moon, the stars, and all the planets.