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Happy Birthday, Mom!

Motherhood is a choice you make every day, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm.

 I found the quote above the other day and was stirred by its impact.  If ever there was a job that is underpaid, provides a lifetime of “overtime” labor, weariness expected and accepted, gratitude from the recipients rarely expressed, tears that can come at any moment, and constant mental focus on the expanse of chores that is yet ‘undone” in her day’s schedule… is motherhood.  And, sadly, many mothers live with a sense of guilt that they are not “measuring up” to some arbitrary standard in their mind that would be called “perfection” by others.

Many people have expressed opinions about “mothers”…..

God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers. Rudyard Kipling.  Men are what their mothers made them. Ralph Waldo Emerson.  If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? Milton BerleI remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. Abraham Lincoln.  My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope.’ Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso. Pablo Picasso. 

This past Saturday, March 5, my mother had her 85th birthday.  She is resilient and doing great!  Mother is still active, living “on her own” and makes every day interesting in her life.  Her adventures have changed due to age.  What used to be trips to the various malls, shops, and sales have transformed to doctors, specialists, and pharmacies.  But in the midst of all of that, she still goes out to eat with friends, my sister, and her children that live in East Tennessee.

My mother is remarkable in lots of ways.  She has always had a great sense of humor and love to laugh.  She influenced that part of my life from an early age.  She was independent and a bit mischievous as a pastor’s wife which always kept my dad wondering and the church members smiling.  Her avocation was antiques, jewelry, and “junk sales”.  When my parents lived in Hawaii for 14 years, my mother worked at a jewelry shop selling diamonds.  Because she could sell “ice to an Eskimo”, she was great at it.

When she came to visit us the first time here in Oklahoma, I took her to the fair grounds on Saturday to the huge flea market there.  She went booth to booth looking at the wares of the vendors and giving them her card from the store where she sold jewelry in Hawaii.  She would say to every vendor, “Next time you are in the islands, look me up.”  Not sure how many trips those folks made to Honolulu to buy diamonds, but they had her card, just in case!  She was truly an enthusiastic employee because she loved what she did at home and “abroad”!

I am truly grateful for a mother that loved all four of us children, made sure that we did our best at all things, did not let us settle for mediocre, and taught us to be independent.  She did not dote on us.  She directed our lives and loved us…and loves us still.  Thank you, Mother and happy 85th birthday to you!