People I know: Eileen McHill aka Mom

Today is a complicated day for so many people.  In some ways I like to think of today as the one in which we honor our moms, chosen or bio, or those who have cared for us along the way.  I have three amazing sister in laws who are incredible moms and I have people in my life that have mentored me in amazing caretaking ways but I only have one mom, Eileen McHill!

Happy Mother’s Day, mom!

Usually I would go through some highlights of each person that I know and I will do some of that but I don’t know even where to begin on Eileen. I have to say that as I am approaching 39, I see more and more of my mom emerging in me. I know we all say that but it doesn’t lessen the surprise at times.  Sometimes I will say something and then actually say right after…well, that was Eileen…for better or worse.  I also see my mom differently as I age and she has become this kick ass grandmother to my nieces and nephews and I feel like we get closer and closer too as we both age and change.

While I don’t want to give you a full bio and I actually think she would just cringe at my attempts here are some highlights for now…

My mom is amazingly creative and hilarious.  I have always thought this about my mom.  My mom is a retired school teacher and not just any school teacher, she is a high school Spanish teacher. I joke that I think all language teachers have got to be a little bit crazy and off for what they do…just a touch more weird than most of us but it is because I watched this woman take on the world of high school Spanish teaching with gusto.  There were these days that I could go to work with my mom for a day. I remember one time sitting at her desk while she taught and my jaw dropped at how quick she was to see everything happen before her, react quickly on her feet as she unrolled the latest creative activity and respond to everyone who needed it. It was like watching a piece of art created before me.  She was on top of whatever was going on around her and could still create a community and environment of learning but in a way that 30 high schoolers didn’t know they were learning, they just knew they were having a blast playing the latest game Mrs. McHill came up with.

She is just as creative at home and with everyone around her. My mom is funny and not in a cheesy way but in a quick and intelligent way. She was always a fav of my friends to come over and see what she was up to next.  She creates songs constantly and it wasn’t until I was in college that I realized that not every household is full of singing and dancing around and joking and delving into our creative minds.

My mom is an amazing grandmother.  Sure, she was an excellent mom who worked full time and took care of four children with the help of my dad and my grandparents for sure. She was there for us and helped us through our stuff while still making sure we had food and what we needed for school and extra curricular activities. She drove me to Corvallis for violin and symphony, correcting paperwork during my rehearsals and then drove me home.  She had time for conversations and family time too BUT she is an even better grandma. I watch as my nieces and nephews run to her and she cuddles them and I think man, they are so lucky to have this grandma.  I know that she will be there for them whenever they need her and will make sure that they have snacks along the way.  She will dance with them and make up songs and cheer them on with their creative endeavors too.

My mom loves to travel and see the world and gave that gift to me.  My mom and I are very different people but we have a few things in common, one of the most prevalent being how we love to see the world.  My parents both instilled in me the love of exploring the world. They allowed me to see that I could learn from everywhere I went and taught me to come into situations with that kind of lens.  I know that even when my mom and I have nothing to talk about we can always talk about the next travel plans.  Plus she has made the world available to her students. It is important to her that people have a larger view of the world.

My mom’s favorite thing in the whole wide world is to have her whole family around her.  I watch her as she relishes when we get together and are laughing so hard our bellies hurt. Christmas is her favorite time of year for just this reason I suspect.  One Christmas she was truly deeply ill and really couldn’t talk but there was nothing that would stop Christmas and watching her family open gifts.  I could see her smile through her pain and it made it worth being there.

And I guess we have to mention that she is a cat lady…she loves em. Wouldn’t live without em and collects all sorts of things about em.  She also loves a good puzzle, the ocean and a good cup of coffee.  She is pretty game for most adventures and is usually available when I call.  She encourages me to take the next bold step and tells me I can always come home if it doesn’t work out. We have had our rocky moments but we have become closer in the past years and I am so grateful for that.

Happy Mothers Day, mom! I love you!

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