An Ode to My Mom What can I say about the most formative person in my life? She has inspired me on so many levels. From her upbeat persona that always encouraged me to “rise and shine” with every morning to the PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) that she always promoted. I always knew that I could count on her to fill my cup if I ever felt down. Mom would listen, encourage and show her full support with all the love that any mother could. Perhaps the one slight exception is my running obsession, as she would occasionally fret that her son was going too extreme in those physical events (i.e., the marathons). But I know one thing for sure – she never stopped being a loving mother! Perhaps I feel this because I was the “baby” (i.e., last child) of the family, but I think it was true for all her four kids. She never gave up caring about everything that her kids were going through in their life. They were her number one concern along with her soul mate, Fred. Family ties were extremely important to her and she did whatever she could to forge that attitude within her kids, grand kids and great-grand kids. It was always a wonder that she could carry on 90% of any conversation on her own. Perhaps, she did this because of so many years practice with Dad ;-) Whatever the case, she would always be there to bring the family news to us and be a conduit by which we could connect with the rest of our relatives. She would never tire of explaining to me our whole family tree and all my various relations – cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. – even though she had probably told me many times before. Since she came from a large family of twelve (kids), there was a plethora of relatives to know about and keep track of. But it was very important to her that we were all aware of what was happening to our blood relatives. Family was and always will be important. I'll really miss those opportunities to call her up on the weekends to catch up and to let her know what is currently happening with the Ogrens in Denver. It was great to either share those special moments of our kids lives and/or to catch up on news within the greater family. She enjoyed so much to hear what stage our kids were in and, of course, inevitably she would compare that to her own experience with raising us. She always understood if things got busy around our household and I was not able to call regularly. Of course now, I wish that I had called more often. However, I do not think that I am quite the super parent as was she. I now know from personal experience, that it is not an easy task to watch three kids by yourself and keep the house tidy at the same time. Please don't ask Susanne if I was successful in this mission! I did do my best with the last item, but my usual focus is on the kids (not the house). With my mom's high energy level, she was able to do both – with one hand tied behind her back ;-) I know that in the future, Mom will still be right by our side as Susanne and I raise our three little ones. Mom had developed pet names for Anna (honey bun), Tobias (sweetheart), and Matthias (little sunshine). Unfortunately, she never saw Matthias in person. We were set to visit in November and then she could have seen our cute little 17 month boyo for the very first time. However, I did manage to send her a picture book containing photos of all three a few weeks back. She absolutely loved the it so much that she actually slept with it at night. Now that brings a tear to my eye. Mom will definitely be in my heart and with me every step of the way as I do my best to follow in her example of being a loving and supportive parent. Let me explain. I making an analogy to that which I felt when I was taking my initial flying lessons (to become a private pilot). When you learn to fly, your flight instructor sits on your right while you are in the pilot seat. He gives you instructions as you are flying the airplane. It typically takes somewhere between 10 – 20 hours of flight training before the flight instructor will sign you off as approved for your first solo flight. During those initial training hours you are constantly being given guidance that your very life depends on. At first you would think the first solo flight would be scary, but not so. On my first solo I was neither nervous nor scared. Even though my flight instructor was no longer in the airplane, I heard his voice throughout the flight – in every phase from takeoff to landing. I completed the journey successful and even made additional landings beyond what was talked about beforehand – a little bit to the dismay of my instructor ;-) My point is this, I can think of no better guide through the rest of my life than my mother. I love you Mom.