My mother

My mother is the straight up shiz.  Seriously.  In college, I could not announce I was going home for a weekend without at least a few of my friends asking if they could tag along to go see my mom.  She’s generous to a fault, almost, and loved by everybody she encounters.

My mother is most at home in the wilderness (seriously, go read that link).  A common activity for our family is to take the boat out on the lake at night and fish.  While we’re out there I’ll bore everybody with astronomical tedium, we’ll sing, and generally have an all-round blast.  At night on the lake you get all the noises made by the local wildlife.  It’s a tumultuous, discordant symphony of all the insects and animals on the shore.  One of the most enjoyable parts of being out there is that you can pick out a single sound from amongst the din and my mother will be able to tell you what’s making it and a whole bunch of interesting facts about the insect/animal.

And she hasn’t let age keep her out of the wilderness.  She’s in her sixties and every other weekend she and dad are trotting off to some remote wilderness or hiking eighteen miles into the Rockies.  If the earth had a badass, unstoppable daughter, it would be my mom.

My mother is also an exceptional artist who taught me quite a bit about performing and the discipline of art in general.  Check these out.  They were both once plain ol’ ordinary rocks before falling into my  mother’s hands.

The woman is also as sharp as a nail.  I had some very, very difficult times last year, which I tried to hide from my parents because I didn’t want them to worry.  But even from 1,000 miles away mom could smell right through it, and she called a few times a week to keep checking on me and to remind me I was loved – never specifically stating she knew something was wrong, but supporting me and waiting for me to talk about it when/if I wanted to.

I am constantly asking her for advice, and she always seems to know the right thing to say.  She is so good at this that I’ve always been able to talk to her about anything from sex to experimentation with drugs as passively as if I was discussing the weather.  She’s my best friend, and I trust her advice far more than my own judgment to this day.  I literally think I could be around my mother non-stop and never get tired of it.

Yet she is one of the most humble people I’ve ever met.  It is not uncommon for her to sincerely say she doesn’t know much about a subject, and then for her to contribute a list of facts fifteen minutes later of which nobody in the conversation was aware.

She is very accepting when you fail, as long as you’re trying.  For somebody with a huge perfectionist streak, like me, this quality in my mother often provides a very necessary reassurance.  She’s proud of me so long as I’m trying, and disappointed whenever I’m not.  The barometer for success with my mother has never been that I was the best, it was that I was happy and I was trying.  She has always cared greatly for me and my brother and has supported us 100% in what we wished to do with our lives.

And she is patient.  Dear god, is she patient.  When I became a Christian in my teens she never disowned me despite some of the horrible things I said about gays and non-believers.  She trusted I had the intelligence to figure out my missteps and kept me close while I was working on it.  She forgave me the instant stupid things escaped my mouth.

She is the glue for our family, and we have the most amazing family because of it.  She used to have a blog herself.  A cursory exploration of its entries will show how much she talks about her family.  She really has made us her world, and she is ours in return.

She is so indescribably wonderful.  She really deserved a much better kid than what she got for most of my life.  My strength, my wits, my compassion, they all come in forms of both nature and nurture from her.  I am a cosmic lottery winner several times over to luck out and wind up with parents like mine.  And for all she’s given me, I know she wants nothing in return but for me to be happy – even if that meant shining shoes for a living.

I am a cosmic lottery winner millions of times over.  I was born as a human rather than an earthworm or one of the millions of other species on this planet.  On top of that bit of monumental luck, I was born into a resource-rich nation, into a life of near-Utopian comfort compared to most of the other nations on this planet.  The cosmos have truly smiled on me.

But chief amongst my good fortune has always been that I wound up with my mom.  She’s made me what I am.  She encourages me, convinces me to be proud of myself and, at the same time, she keeps me grounded.

She is my best friend.  She is my role model.  And I know she reads this blog, so if I’ve ever touched your life in any way, leave her a comment here and thank her.  I would have been an utter failure in life without my mother.  She made me what I am.

I love you, mom.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.