Happy Birthday to Mom

Yes, I'm one of the lucky ones and so are a lot of you. Next week my mom will celebrate her 90th years of life. I am amazed by that and in awe of the fact that she continues to teach me how to be a better person. She's sneaky that way.

She's spent time with us twice recently helping out around here. She's done things I can't do and if that doesn't make sense to you, believe that I'm having trouble with it too. My very own 90 year-old mother is healthier than I am. Ouch. Why? She's smarter than I am and takes better care of herself. She's more patient than I am. She's more careful about her movements. She is far better at pacing her days and doesn't rush around like a chicken with their head cut off. Apologies if you don't know what that means. Giggles if you do and aren't a vegetarian.

She finds joy in what she calls piddling on all of the plants around here. She likes to water early in the morning. Those are her best and most productive hours. She gets up at around 5 am. so has lots of time to herself before the rest of us join her. During that time she does extra projects. This time she cleaned the cabinet which holds all of Mr. S's otter collection. Because it's all glass, this is no small project. It should also be noted that the collection is cleverly wedged in behind the exercise bike that I dust. To clean otters you must first deal with the giant bike. Somehow she figured all that out and met me with a grin and clean otters when I started my day.

She can't hear so misses most conversations but if you talk loud enough and stand or sit where she can see what you are saying it helps. I can't know what it is like in her quiet life but she has told me that she likes it there. Closed captioning helps her keep track of news and weather, two of her top priority items. At home she takes a daily newspaper and works the puzzles in it every day to keep her mind sharp. I love the times when we work on crossword puzzles together. She's much more clever at this than I ever could be. We always watch Jeopardy together too because we think it makes us smarter.

She has the patience to put 1,000 piece puzzles together. I like the ones made for 3 year-old. Patience. That's her lesson and I have been learning it from her for a long time. She loves Sudoku and I don't even understand the concept. I have a long established hatred for math in all its forms and Sudoku reeks of math to me. I love to write but can't figure out Word Finder puzzles. Mom can in a heartbeat. She does all this quietly and sometimes her eyes close and she takes a kitty nap in the afternoon. It would take a real cat nap for me if I did all she does in the mornings but she's made of tougher stuff.

Don't think for a moment that I don't know how lucky I am to have her. At times like this when I can't drive over to spend time with her, she's found ways to get to us. I will be happy when we get back to a regular schedule and I begin again to go over the river and through the woods to the Great Valley. I enjoy all of my visits with family but I also know that they have spent lots of years being alive and some of them are getting ready to start that next phase.

That's another thing Mom understands. She's not afraid of that next phase. She knows life isn't a forever deal. She's lost two husbands and her son. She knows sadness. She knows how a broken heart feels. Mostly she knows how to heal. If I could pick the one thing she's taught me that it is the most important thing... it would be that. She's taught me to heal, both physically and mentally. Given the life I've had, that one lesson is probably the thing that has kept me alive. Oh yes, and laughter. That's another huge part of our lives together.

So, happy 90th birthday, Mom. Know that I will always remember you for all you've been in my life... whether you are here or not. Also know that I'm very, very happy that you're alive and well. Thanks for piddling on the flowers, cleaning the otters and deadheading all those flowers we planted. Oh, and thanks for doing a lot of other things, too. We love you. Those words can't be said enough.

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