11/02/2006

Two Tribute Posts In One Day?...

Today is my mom's birthday.

You know, often we attribute heroism to people like generals or sports figures. Other times it's for singular acts, like rescuing someone from a burning building. I'd like to talk about a different kind of hero.

My mom is one of the unsung heroes you'll never hear about. She has always been a champion for people that are experiencing some kind of pain or turmoil in their lives. She started out as a social worker for DCFS in inner-city Chicago. After taking time off to raise three kids, she decided to return to school part time to get her Master's Degree, despite a prior mediocre record as a student. She ended up graduating #1 in her class at Jane Addam's at UIC. Since then she has worked tirelessly to ease the suffering of countless people. She has worked at a VA hospital and a halfway house for recovering addicts. She worked with mothers who were considering putting their child up for adoption and advocated "open adoption", a new approach where the child knows both sets of parents (to varying degrees). Currently she works for a hospice as a bereavement counselor. Those of you who know Social Workers know that, like teachers, they don't get paid jack for what they do.

In the late '90s, my mom travelled to Liberia in western Africa as a volunteer, doing peace and reconciliation counselling for people that had endured years of civil war. Unfortunately, she had to be evacuated out after five months when violence re-erupted. She continues to support some of the people she met there, helping them pay for schooling or setting up businesses. She has also volunteered in Ghana. She is the kind of woman that can always be counted on to help.

Apart from her career history, she is one of the kindest people I know (and I'm not just saying that because she's my mom). She is the queen of thank-you notes, most of them completely unexpected by their recipients. She is the ultimate gift-giver. She is funny as hell and has an infectious laugh. She has always encouraged me in all the wacky shit I've wanted to do. I couldn't have asked for much more in a mother. So, go ahead and call me a "mama's boy". I wear it as a badge of honor.

This will be my last post until Monday. Y'all have a great weekend and hopefully I'll have some good wedding pics. To the Georgia Girls, if you think I look cool in my skiing pics, wait til you see me in a tux. Hot stuff!

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

While she's no Patsy, you are right that she's a great mom, grandma and person.
Happy Birthday Chris's Mom!

dirty said...

Happy Birthday to your mom...

You are such a sweet son...your mom did a great job!

mixednut said...

Happy B-day to Chris' Mom!
You mama's boy!

Teri said...

She sounds wonderful and she is a hero, to you and the people. Not many folks help the masses like she does.

Happy Birthday to Chris' mom.

Anonymous said...

I can only hope my boys will think so highly of me someday.

Have fun at the outdoor November Michigan wedding. Brrrr!

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vikkitikkitavi said...

Christ, no wonder you're not married yet. What kind of gal could compare with THAT?

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to your Mom!! And, for the record, I can't wait to see you in a tux!!

Anonymous said...

I think it's wonderful that you have so much respect for your mother. That's a beautiful thing, man.

I think your mother raised a great son.

Have fun at the wedding!

Big Orange said...

lovely. She's just the sort of person Republicans love to hate.

I'm havin' me some ice-cream in celly-bration.