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Cathy McMorris Rodgers's picture

I’ve always known there was something special about my mom.  Maybe it’s because of her infectiously positive outlook on life, or the way she gives of herself no matter how full her plate, or how her laughter comes from the inside in a way I’ve never seen before.  Or maybe it’s because she’s Corene Belle McMorris, the closest and kindest confidant I will ever know.

Now that I am a mom myself – of Cole, Grace, and Brynn – I realize how much of my mom I carry with me every day.  When I watch Cole perform in his school plays or help Grace get ready for her dance recitals, I see my mom beside me – so many years ago – cheering emphatically when I won that “Brownie of the Year” award.  She never told anyone it was because she had helped me sell so many cookies and earn so many badges.

My mom has mastered the art of compassion.  When I was homesick during college, she wrote me a letter every single day – often accompanied by a care package – to encourage me to stick it out.  Not a day went by when there wasn’t a letter from Mom waiting in my mailbox.  My mom dropped out of college after her dad passed away, so it was always her dream for me to finish what she had begun.  When I showed my 4-H animals every year at the county fair, she used to tell me, “Cathy, you need to save that money so you can go to college one day!”  Four years and many cross-country care packages later, my mom was the loudest and most enthusiastic cheerleader at my college graduation.

Today I find myself more in awe of my mom than I ever thought possible.  My piano lessons, Girl Scout meetings and volleyball practices have been replaced with congressional elections, campaign rallies and motherhood – and she has stood by my side every step of the way.  When I decided to run for Congress, my mom was my biggest supporter.  As my first campaign volunteer, she woke up before dawn to wave signs and hand out bumper stickers – proudly wearing her brand new “Cathy for Congress!” t-shirt.

When our son Cole was diagnosed with Down syndrome, my mom flew across the country, held my hand, and told me that she could not wait to see the impact Cole would have on the world.  And she was right.  She reminds me that no challenge is too great and no dream too big.  That every obstacle can be overcome with faith.  That sometimes you just need to follow your heart.  And that a little lipstick really can go a long way.

My mom has shaped the trajectory of my life – from childhood to motherhood and everything in between – in a way I can only hope to do for my children one day.  She motivates me, challenges me, and inspires me.  But more than anything, she reminds me that there is no greater gift in life than being a mom.

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