I have been blessed to have two incredible women in my life, my mother Linda and my wife Bethany. I am sorry for all the other people out there, but I do in fact have the most awesome mother. There is no shame in second place in this area, but I will not cede her place to any other position but the top spot.
A mother has the most difficult task, for she must take a young, impressionable human being, and underscore in their young life the things they must learn and experience, the hurt they will inevitably feel, the sadness -- this is a difficult task a mother must do. It takes a tremendous amount of strength, patience, and moral fiber to give birth, raise, and eventually let go of, a child. My mother did an unbelievable job, in a difficult situation with a strong willed child. I am the man I am today, because of the woman she is. I am a living testament to her encouragement, love and yes discipline. She instilled in me a passion to believe in myself and to do what is right, even when others around you do what is wrong. More importantly she gave me desire to live my life with intention. What a beautiful gift to give. Do you live your life with intention?
It was also providential that when it was the appropriate time that I found for myself an incredible wife. My mother became a friend to my wife, where one usually finds competitiveness between a son's mother and wife. In my situation there seemed to be a desire to combine forces and push me even further. It was a remarkable partnership, not the one between my wife and me, but between my mother and my wife. It is a testament of both women and further proof, that for me at least, a support system that tolerates my learning through experience and mistakes in my vision of where and who I want to be is also one of my greatest assets - even when I walk to the edge to do what I love.
My wife has undertaken the greatest challenge. She has loved a man, embraced his dreams as her own and dared him to be remarkable. All this often while balancing the demands of children, household errands, and preparing dinner. Yet she allows for me to be the tired one, for I have worked hard all day. She balances this routine with a smile on her face, a kind word on her lips and love in her heart. Yes, the hand that rocks the cradle rules the heart. I do not appreciate my wife enough. I do not share with her the credit she deserves or recognize the many contributions that allow me to be me. I have the best wife in the world. While my shortcomings are many, my demands are often great. I have been blessed with a warm and tender helpmate and partner who has contributed support beyond my wildest expectations, while being my best friend. Amazingly all of this effort has lasted for nearly 21 years or half of my entire life. I must acknowledge a tip of the hat to her mother Nancy O'Bannon for raising such a fine woman. I hope my daughters recognize the significance of these exceptional women in their lives and in history.
As U2 sang: "who is to say where the wind will take you, or what it is that will break you, I don't know which way the wind will blow."
I am not afraid to die. I am not afraid to live. Life is so much sweeter with a life partner to share it with. It would not be possible without the first woman in my life my mother. I cannot be successful without my wife, and success is not measured by a bank account, a car or a house. It is by the happiness in your heart and a life lived in the pursuit of worthy goal of leaving the world a better place than you found it.
"Live your life as if this is all there is, and if I do not see you again in this life, I will see you again in heaven" something my grandmother Leona Green once told me. What gives me hope is that I know I will see all my loved ones again someday. Thanks in large part to a baby born in a stable in Bethlehem and a woman who gave birth to a child, raised him, and who still rules this world. May your Christmas be blessed and may the reason for the season shine through this holiday season and in 2006.
--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Tallahassee, Florida.
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