Today is my mom's 60th birthday. Being able to spend this birthday with her is all the more meaningful after having been gone for a year. We are also taking a trip, just the two of us, to New York City in three weeks to celebrate my 30th and her 60th (we are both celebrating milestones)! It's very fitting since my whole family is from New York and we are definitely a colorful, gregarious bunch. I never understood how New Yorkers get a bad rap for being rude or cold. Maybe it's because my mother is the warmest person I ever met. It's no secret that I look up to my mother a great deal and have always found her to be a huge inspiration for strength and kindness, but I get reminded all the time how lucky I am to have a mom as great as she is.
We were having lunch a couple of days ago and our waitress was pretty terrible and very rude to us. Of course, I was still cordial but I definitely wasn't going to go out of my way to be nice to the waitress after how she treated us. But, as we were leaving, my mom made a point to grab the waitresses attention and say, "Thank you again, so much!" with a great big smile on her face. I looked and her and said, "Ma, why are you going to go out of your way to be nice to her? She was so rude!" She said, "I'm not going to change who I am just because she's a witch." Which, of course, made me laugh, but it's true. My mom doesn't change who she is for anyone, but she doesn't need to. She always bends over backwards for everyone, to the point of sometimes getting walked over. I sometimes find myself in that predicament as well, but I'd rather be that way than shut people out.
My mom wanted me to visit her office after lunch to meet the ladies she works with. They were bringing her a pie for her birthday and she wanted to show me off. Every single lady said, "Oh, your mom talks about you all the time! I feel like I know you! You have an amazing lady for a mother!" I'd say, "I know. I'm a lucky girl." Even though my mom isn't working in the hospital directly with patients anymore, I can see that she makes it a point to take interest in the people's lives around her. I was also told that when she did work in the hospital, they would always give her the most difficult patients to work with because she would "kill them with kindness" and they would end up turning around and being much easier to work with.
The past year working in a different country, with all different cultures made me realize as time went on that I needed to be asking myself, "What Would Mama Muroski Do?" The answer was always to have compassion, patience and understanding. If I would get frustrated, I would try to step into the other person's shoes for a while. It was definitely a huge challenge sometimes but at the end of the day, very few people are behaving a certain way strictly to ruin your day. Either they are having a bad day, or they have to follow certain guidelines, or things are simply out of their hands. I have a tendency to have knee-jerk reactions, so I've really learned to take a breath, step back and think of how my mom would treat someone.
Happy 60th Birthday, Mom! I truly won the "mom lottery" and I'm thankful for it! I love you!