Today is my mom’s birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! This is us when I was 7 (from My Travelin’ Eye, 4.2008). She’s not only the co-star of my new book–she’s the best mom EVER. So, I thought I’d post some of the reasons why this is true (there are a lot more, but these are the ones that came to mind today). (Plus, when I called her this morning, I wasn’t aware of what day it was even though I’d been working all weekend on her present. Can you forgive me, Mom?) ok…here goes.

• She helped me be a rubic’s cube for Halloween when I was in 2nd grade. I remember spray-painting a cardboard box with black paint out by the wood pile where the rolly posies lived. Then we glued squares of colored construction paper on it. My hands barely stuck out the side holes. When our class paraded thru the big kids’ classrooms, I couldn’t fit thru the rows of desks because I was too wide. But everyone loved my costume, and it was by far the best Halloween in my memory.

• When I was in gradeschool, mabye 10 years old, she took me to IHOP for pancakes after my soccer game. When the waitress asked, “What will he be having to drink?” My mom said something so sweet (and a bit sarcastically) like, “My beautiful daughter will be having orange juice.” Well, I’m not exactly sure if she said those words, but I do remember her saying something that made me feel better and how she shot that woman a look like she might have to beat her up in the parking lot for hurting my feelings.

• She was the loudest, most enthusiastic, parent-cheerleader on the sidelines of ALL my highschool/college soccer games. (She’s still my biggest cheerleader, along with my dad.)

• She taught me how to drive and didn’t get too mad when I soon ran over a possum and messed up her wheel trying to avoid it.

• She’s a champion crossword puzzler and therefore a GREAT brainstormer when it comes to freelance illustration assignments.

• She’s always been so compassionate and kind to me when I’m having a hard time. Once, when I was 20, I drove home from college and met her at her office. When I saw her, I starting sobbing, balling uncontrollably. She hugged me and sat with me and told me whatever it was, I’d be ok. When I finally settled down a bit (about 10 minutes later), she asked, “Jenny, what is it? Are you pregnant?” I replied, “No, I got a speeding ticket!” and continued to sob. She started laughing which made me laugh, and it was one of those sweet moments I’ll never forget.

• When I had super painful kidney stones and had an unsuccessful surgery, she rushed home from vacation and drove 4 hours to KC to hold my hand and tell my doctor that he “better not come out of surgery this time until he gets them out.” I think the doctor was a little scared and he definitely did what she said.

• She taught me Grandma’s secret salsa recipe this year and how to can it.

• She helps me with my taxes EVERY year and makes sure I get the best return possible. Yeah! Go Mom!

• She makes the best lasanga and muscacholi ever. Mmmmmmm.

• She is in awesome shape and inspires me to do the same, and she’s ultra beautiful.

• She is SUPER smart–she chose my dad for her husband when she was just 13! Well, not technically til she was 18, but she found him at 13 and held onto him.

• She doesn’t mind me calling on a regular basis and is patient and listens to EVERYTHING I want to share. I always feel listened to. She believes in me, and she always makes me feel loved.

I love you, Mom!
xo, jenny