Today is my Mom’s birthday.
She and Dad said they are keeping it low-key. That’s okay. You can do that when you’re 80-something.
I thought I’d do a little “this is your life” post for her today…
This is Mom with her pet chicken, circa early 1930s.
The first decade of her life was spent on a farm in the Ozarks of Missouri. Then my grandparents packed up and moved with six kids (and I think there was a dog, too) to Oregon.
Mom made new friends and settled into life in their new home, although she says she always missed Missouri in the fall, when all the leaves would change colors. My parents took us to Missouri in the fall when I was eleven and even then I could appreciate what she meant because the trees were amazing.
Mom was particularly fond her older brother Lawrence. From stories she’s told, it sounds like they got into a lot of trouble (and fun) together.
Mom, who was all of a size two, heard the buzz about a new boy moving to town when she started her senior year of high school.
It didn’t take long for her to spy the handsome lad…
And the two of them to fall in love.
Mom would kill me graveyard dead if I didn’t live several hours away for posting this photo, but the summer after she graduated from high school, they opened a pool in town and had girls from the varying rural areas participate in a beauty contest. Mom represented their little community and had her photo in the paper. Dad thought she’d destroyed the newspaper clipping years ago, but I found it one day when I was digging through a box of photos and made a copy before she knew about it.
I call this Mom’s glamour photo. I think of all the photos I’ve seen of her, this is my favorite. Just love her sassy attitude and smile in this one.
Mom and Dad married the year after they graduated and began a life together.
Six years later, they’d welcomed my two brothers and sister to the family.
Twenty years after they said “I do” I came along and not long after that, my oldest brother and his wife had their first baby. Please ignore the fine 1970s fashions and hairstyles displayed in this photo. I’m sure they were right in style at the time the photo was taken. I’m the goofy looking child sitting next to Mom.
More grandkids and many years later, we threw a big party to celebrate Mom and Dad’s fiftieth anniversary. Mom didn’t want us to go to “all the fuss and bother” but I think she had as much fun as Dad.
And this is Mom on her 80th birthday a few years ago. Dad and I spent months plotting a surprise party and much to our surprise, she didn’t find out about it before hand.
Mom has taught me a lot over the years.
By watching her host huge holiday gatherings, I learned about being a gracious host, how to prepare before hand, and how to make enough mashed potatoes to feed fifty people.
She taught me how to sew, although that one was a painfully learned skill that caused us both much frustration (due to a lack of skill on the student’s part!)
She taught me how to make a house look clean in less than five minutes when unexpected company pulls up at your door. And how to deep-clean your house from top to bottom at least twice a year. (I may be a little behind schedule on that one…)
She attempted to teach me how to iron. I remember watching her iron things like pillow slips and cloth napkins along with piles of clothes. I still hate ironing, even if I do know how to do it properly.
She taught me how to plant, grow and harvest a garden. She also tried to teach me how to can produce but being a very unwilling student, I just went through the motions without retaining the info. The big pressure cooker still scares me. A lot.
She gave me a love of reading. First by reading to me every night as I was little, then by listening as I read to her. We still share a love of books.
She gave me an appreciation for pretty things. She had lovely china dishes we used on special occasions and I always liked the way the pieces shined in the cupboard, just waiting to be taken down and set on a beautiful table to mark some event. Sometimes the event was just having someone join us for dinner.
She taught me how to manage money, to be mindful of what I buy, and to be thankful for what I have.
And today I’m thankful for my Mom.
Happy, Happy Birthday, Mama!