Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 80th Birthday Mom

She tells us she was born early in the morning, during a fierce storm. On one of our road trips she showed me that house, where the doctor came to deliver her, and left with a couple dozen eggs.
My very favorite photo of her, 17 years old, pregnant with my sister, but didn't know it yet. 

Five generation photo, with my mother holding my sister, Barb on the bottom right. I love every single thing about this photo. The ladies, the wallpaper, the old piece of furniture, the wood floor, and maybe especially that the great-great grandmother is touching my sister's foot. I really, really love that.

Holding her great-grandson, Daniel. You don't forget how with that much time under your belt. He was a big baby, well over 10 lbs, and a lot for her arms to hold, but she did it.

Our stay-cation this year, a day at Red Rocks, with a pose she chose. It sums her up perfectly.

 
Playing checkers with her great-grandson, Caiden. I'm not sure who won, but if he did it wasn't because she let him. She has a fiercely competitive spirit!
It's fitting her birthday is the 4th of July - small package, quiet on the outside, but a lot of sparkle and you never know when you're going to get a show of fireworks.

I like that about her.

In fact, I love it.

I fell asleep last night, just after midnight, when it was technically already her birthday. My last thought was that I wish I could keep her here, not growing one day older.

Time has turned the tables. When I hold her to me now she feels small and fragile; I'm tall, the strong one. I notice her thin, frail arms now and try to look back through time, to when she birthed the six of us, carried us, bathed us, dressed us, fed us, spanked us - now and then. Washed off boo-boos, and applied bandages when needed. As we got older and grew up, she'd still look up at us (every single one is taller than her) and let us know who was boss, with that jaw of hers squared off and her lips set hard. She's dyed eggs, wrapped untold Christmas presents, and wiped bottoms and noses too many times to count. She may have been little, but you didn't trifle with her. Worst case scenario, when we'd really gotten to her, she'd say those words, 'we'll just wait til your father gets home' and you knew you were in for it. A sure sign we'd stepped over the line, if my mother said 'damn'. We'd pushed her past the point of no return and there'd be heck to pay.

She's listened when we needed her to, rarely gave advice. Made us keep on trying when we wanted to up and quit.  She and I have laughed and cried, eaten bbq and watermelon, homemade ice cream, and sipped a glass of wine or two; covered miles and miles of road, singing off-key to Bruce Springstein. Nobody's told her she's too old for him, and I think I'll keep it that way.

Mother's Day, 2013. I've always, always loved her soft blue eyes. 
She's prayed and prayed and prayed for all of us, and buried one. I so wish I was there today, to light some sparklers, watch some fireworks together, eat watermelon with her. Praying we'll celebrate 90 together. Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.

2 comments:

Barb said...

Such a wonderful tribute to our mom. You've got a collection of amazing photos of her. And you couldn't have described her more perfectly. Small woman, big heart and yes, a real firecracker from time to time. We are blessed. xoxo

Kelly said...

Beautiful picture, and beautiful words about your Mom. She clearly has a love for life that she has passed on, and that is a great gift!