We have been honoring our Mothers for centuries and yet… they continue to be somewhat in the background. I guess because that’s what they do.

They are fierce, nurturing, amazing humans, these mothers of ours.

For almost 20 years I’ve been singing the praises of my dad’s legacy. And it’s a beautiful thing. He was a pioneer in herbal medicine, and he continues to change the way many people have been able to live their lives with wellness and vibrant health using his herbal remedies.

But…there was an incredible woman who stood beside the man that was my dad, and she was a POWER to be reckoned with.

When my mom met my dad in college, she told him that she wanted a dozen kids. That was her life’s ambition. Wow. To bring humans into this world and nurture them, teach them, nourish them, and guide them to being responsible adults is an amazing gift to humanity.

My mom’s name is Anne Marie Barlow, and she was the most positive person you would ever meet. She saw the silver lining in absolutely everyone and everything. It would make us smile (and sometimes annoy us 🙂 when she would take a truly hard situation and show us how to see the good in it.

There was a consistent twinkle in her eye that knew what she knew. She was never wrong in her deep knowledge of the true goodness of humankind. Her gift lives on in all of us daily.

I want to honor my mom and the selfless service she gave to her children. What makes this extra special is that I was born on Mother’s Day in 1961 and my mom said it was the best Mother’s Day present ever. What a gift I was to her, she told me. The best Mother’s Day present any woman could have. The thing is, she made all of us feel that way.

She listened with her whole being. When we came home from school filled with stories, hurts, and triumphs, she stopped what she was doing and gave us her full attention and engaged with us. She was a true listener. She made each of us feel unique and special. Her eyes would light up every time one of us entered the room. We would get a glance, a smile, a hug, a kiss or even a light touch on the shoulder. Every, single time.

We knew without a doubt that we were WANTED and LOVED. She was generous with her time for us and even when we were in trouble, we knew she loved us unconditionally.

She was an incredible artist and she made sure we were stocked with paper, pencils, colored pencils, scizzors, glue, tape, paint, and anything we needed to be creative. Most days there were lots of little kids and teenagers around the kitchen table coloring, drawing, and painting. It was a regular occurence in our household, and it seemed normal and natural to let our creative juices flow on a regular basis. And getting messy with it didn’t faze my mom in the least. It was a glorious way to express ourselves and nurture our individual creativity.

My mom also had a wicked sense of humor. One summer day we watched in horror as she ate a mosquito! She used to make us open-faced peanut butter and honey sandwiches (on big thick slices of her homemade bread) and for lunch one day as we were all sitting at the kitchen table eating them, a mosquito landed on her sandwich and got stuck in the honey. We were all laughing and joking around about it until my mom very dramatically took a big bite of her sandwich and ate that mosquito right up! We were all grossed out as my mom smiled and smacked her lips saying, “A little protein never hurt anyone!”

She was an amazing seamstress and would stay up all night sewing us all matching Easter dresses to wear to church. She could sew everything from shirts and pants to quilts and hats. And of course, she taught us all how to sew and to this day I can whip a homemade quilt in an afternoon! It’s one of my favorite skills and there’s nothing better feeling than giving a homemade quilt to a dear friend or family member.

She was kind and gentle and always full of joy. Literally doing cartwheels with us in the livingroom and front yard. She was one of those people who you could count on to pull you into a good mood. Just being in her presence would lift your spirits. She LOVED babies and toddlers and would spend hours cuddling, snuggling, and loving on all of us.

As teenagers we presented the usual challenges for her, but she loved us more than anything and would move mountains to make sure we were fed, clothed and safe from physical and emotional harm.

My beautiful mother, Anne Marie transitioned to the next life in Feb 2015 surrounded by her children and grandchildren. My dad was the love of her life and in her last days and hours of her life she expressed only love and gratitude for the life she had lived. She never, even once… lived in regret.

I am beyond blessed to be gifted with such an incredible woman as a mentor and mother. She showed me how to love unconditionally and spread positivity everywhere I go. (Yep, that is where I get it 🙂

So, today I honor and cherish her. I can’t believe how lucky I am to be her daughter. I know that you feel the same and could share beautiful stories of love, sacrifice and brilliance that comes from your own mothers. To all of the extraordinary moms…thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Mom, I love you. Your life blessed with me love, example, positivity and the gift of SO many amazing siblings!

I am forever and always eternally grateful.

Much love from your daughter,

Jane XO

PS – This picture was taken a short while before my mom transitioned to the next life. She was in constant pain (from many years of battling MS) but you can see the big smile on her face!