Today is my mom’s 81st birthday. Last year, we surprised her with a shocking visit from her sister and family who she hadn’t seen in 19 years. This year there will be no grand hoopla, but a little reflection nonetheless.
Momma and I have been able to spend some time together recently. This time has made me thoughtful about how blessed my life is with her as my mom.
When I look at her now, I don’t see the strength I once saw. The strength that she used to rear three children, babysit twelve grandchildren, enjoy nineteen great-grandchildren, and nurture more foster children than I can remember. The force she used to lift my dad’s spirits when he wallowed in worry, and she had to be the rock has subdued. I’m certain she is tired, and a little sad. Our hearts have a way of becoming tattered the more love we give away.
This season is a selfish season for me as even in my 50’s I still long to climb in her lap (okay I, still, actually do that) but I want her to make things all better or at least tell me things will be fine. But, here’s the thing, Mom has lived a lot of life, and she knows that things don’t always turn out just right. There is much pain to experience and happiness to value along the way. She can’t comfort me the way she reassured me as a child because I know now that she doesn’t possess all the answers. In fact, life has seemingly given her more questions.
She is the family matriarch. She is the treasure we seek for witty anecdotes and funny sayings. Mom has a knack for comic relief – thank God, she has passed on this attribute. The ability to make us laugh is her gift even if she is laughing at herself. She’s the inspiration we need when the only answer is hope, and she reminds us that without it, we are a miserable lot.
She reminds me how fortunate we are to be loved so well. And, I wish above all on this her 81st birthday, she knows the love, gratitude, and the high esteem to which she is held. Happy Birthday Momma – I love you more.