English: Feeding the Giraffes at Miami Metro Zoo

My mom used to love to feed the giraffes at the zoo.  She couldn’t see them, but she knew they were there, and she loved the experience.  Looking back, my mother had that spirit in all areas of her life.

I can not remember a single challenge or occasion in life my mother didn’t rise to.  When she lost her site she learned braille and newborn care in the dark.  She got a Guide Dog and eventually a job teaching computers to the blind.  I have days when I can barely remember how to tie my shoes, but this woman thrived no matter what was thrown at her.  This is what I remember when I feel like I just can’t fight anymore.  That my mother did not just survive her life. She lived it.  

When faced with significant things like motherhood and love she dedicated all that she had to give, and she never turned down a friend in need.  At times it let people take advantage of her kindness, but it never stopped her.  If she could help, she did.  If she couldn’t help directly, she found a way.  I grew up knowing my mother loved me and would give anything for me to have a good life and a happy heart.  I never knew anything other than acceptance and support, never doubted she believed in me, and that unconditional love has carried me through many points in my life where I’ve veered from the beaten path to find myself.

What else has my mother’s spirit lived on to each me?  That no matter how hard things get it’s always alright to laugh, to play, and to dream.  As a kid I watched my mom bowl, play Frisbee, and beat the pants off of everybody at Monopoly.  She decorated a giant tree every year for Christmas, dusted around ridiculous decorations at Halloween, and dared to wear pointy little heels to work.  She rode roller coasters and went to concerts, Disneyland, and, yes, the zoo.  Nothing was ever off-limits or too much trouble.  If it sounded like fun, my mom was there before anyone.

Which brings me back to the giraffes.  My mom never had to see them to know they were there and to experience their beauty.  We spend so much of our lives looking for something, and quite often it’s already here waiting to be experienced, waiting to be loved, or waiting to be nurtured.  Sometimes I close my eyes and the world becomes a very different place, one with more potential than I can see with my eyes.  It’s all so very simple, but it’s something many of us spend our entire lives trying to learn.  My mother knew. If you hold the food out, the giraffes will come.

Aloha.

Go now, feed your giraffes.

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