Happy 80th Birthday, Mom!

Today, my mom turns 80. I don’t really know if that’s a milestone, in all honesty, though it is a big number. And it’s a good number – it’s strength and health and will to continue forward. It’s always rewarding to see someone live a good, long life and it’s even better when you’re related to that person.

Linda Sowrey (née Tisdale) has been a signficant influence in my life. Let’s start with the obvious one: she’s my mother, she gave birth to me, and raised me well beyond the point I should have left the house. She taught me most of my basics of life, though I will also suggest that she shielded me from them, too: I didn’t do my own laundry until I was late into my teens, and cooking was something I didn’t really learn until I was long moved away.

My mom was raised, like many of her generation, to be the centrepoint of the home. Not a “homemaker” per se – though she was certainly a big part of that role – she also did bookkeeping for many years. It was because of my mother (and specifically, her job) that we got a computer in the house, which inspired me to program, to write, and to learn how computers work, which has led me through my career to date.

She taught me in the best way she knew how: giving me the tools to teach myself. Time Life books, of which I read many. She also tricked me, leave things around, knowing I’d find them (I never got The Talk, I got a book.)

If she ever worried about what I did after dark, she never mentioned it. How she knew where I was and what I was up to, I have no idea. But she somehow did – or at least faked it really well – and trusted my judgement to do the right thing.

If anything, I learned about being a parent from my mom: Be formative, be present, but respect your child’s space as they grow, and never stop loving them. I have no idea how she put up with me a teenager, though.

It’s a weird thing about parents, they never really seem to get older in your mind. I don’t know if that’s a relativity thing – my mom and I will always be 30 years apart and we age at the same rate – or if it’s just a matter of small changes over a long period of time (the classic “boiling frog” theory). And this year will be an intereseting one for both of us – three months from now, I turn 50.

Which is why we’re collaboratively celebrating at the end of May, about halfway between our respective birthdays. But that’s another post at another time.

For now, though, happy birthday, Mom! Thank you for being you, for all the things you’ve done for me, for helping me be the person I am today, and always being there when I needed someone.

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