Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom

story time - 1960

Today's my mom's 83rd birthday. She was born September 1, 1925. But there won't be a celebration, because she died at the age I am now, 53.

This post isn't intended to bring tears, but inspiration. Not sad sentimentality, but reflection.

My mom had maybe the best sense of humor of anyone I've ever known. As a child, I loved to laugh with her. So I laugh a lot with my kids. I think people with no sense of humor are missing out.

My mom loved the unlovable, like the mentally disabled (and very unpopular) girl she welcomed into our Girl Scout troop. So I try to be accepting of people such as this.

My mom knew without a doubt that God exists. She pointed this out to me when I was a teenager and questioning the purpose of life. So I have introduced my children to the creator of the universe.

My mom pretty much hated housecleaning. So I have followed suit.

Along the same lines, my mom secretly admired a relative she never met: "Aunt Betty," who was the scourge of the family for PLAYING THE PIANO INSTEAD OF DOING HER HOUSEWORK. So I look for fun pursuits in order to avoid housework.

My mom used to yell at us four kids. So I have yelled at my four kids, too.

One of my mom's favorite summer pastimes was taking us swimming at the town lake and "beach." So, I spent countless hours taking my kids swimming. (good for avoiding housework.)

My mom made the best southern fried chicken. I don't, but I'm sure I could make some since I spent many a dinner hour watching my mom fry chicken.

My mom embraced most new experiences with gusto: moving far away from her hometown, discovering the ocean, camping, road trips, hikes in the woods, welcoming new neighbors, ice skating and color TV. So I have tried to do the same because I think it's a good way to open kids' eyes to the world & people around them.

I'd say my mom was brave and I think I am, too, most of the time. I'd rather be a brave girl than a scared and cowardly girl.

My mom loved my dad. She found ways to express her lifelong commitment. So I learned what committed marriage meant, imperfect as it was.

My mom loved being a mom. I see this now but probably didn't then. Kids don't get that kind of stuff. Motherhood is the best job - and sometimes the worst - ever. And it's not even a job. It's like becoming a new person as you nuture new little persons.

My mom was excited about being a grandmother, but she didn't live long enough. I hope I will.

My mom didn't want a lot of stuff. Though she might have had some unrealized dreams, she was content with who and where she was. I strive for this, but don't often succeed.

I'm thinking of the best birthday gift I could give my mom. And I've decided what she'd like. I will honor her legacy by loving life, my husband and children. And being content. Recognizing God is God. I think mom would like for me to forget the dog hair in the hall and instead walk the dog in the woods.

She'd want me to love her grandchildren for her. So today, David, Dan, Mark, Katie, Jenny and Jill: know that I love you! Sometimes, the need to express this has unbearable urgency. I hope I've mothered - not smothered - you. Maybe, just maybe, God saved mom's unused love for me to pass on to you. So pardon me if I give too much.

And that's my happy birthday to mom.


D&JHaller said...

That was many ways.

Dan said...

wow, that was quite a post...very meaningful and revealing about you and your mom. thank you for sharing you heart. No, you haven't loved us too much, but just the right amount. You've done a remarkable job of living out Precious' legacy. We all love you, and our grandma!

barb said...

thank you, Jenny and Dan. You give the gift of encouragement.
love you both!

Lisa said... are such an inspiration and have a special gift of sharing....thank you for helping us to learn how to love life.....Lisa

David said...

You're the best, mom. Thank you for passing on all of your mother's best traits. In many ways, feel like I know her through you.

So THAT'S why you always took us to the loon!