Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my mom’s ___th birthday (hint: the number is between 59 and 61)! I’m not shy about telling her age because she is gorgeous and doesn’t have a SINGLE wrinkle on her face. Not one. Please, God, let me have inherited all of her skin genes!  I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly thank her for being such an amazing mother.

     – Thank you, mom, for teaching me to sing everything from worship songs to show tunes to “Elvira” (Oak Ridge Boys) to “Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me” from Hee Haw. Harmonizing with you is one of the great joys of my life.

     – Thank you for being such a world-class baker. Your cakes and cookies are the stuff of dreams.Right now I’m fantasizing about chocolate chip cookies and a yellow cake with chocolate icing.

     – Thank you for supporting my theater career. Remember my first show, Once Upon a Mattress, when I was 11? You found my costume at Goodwill and dyed it purple for me. You ferried me to and from rehearsals all through high school. Remember when you called the director because I didn’t get the lead part? So embarrassing then, so sweet in hindsight! And you saw every performance of Godspell while you were here last spring.

     – Thank you for getting me all set up for my adult life, first in college, then in graduate school, and then when we bought our first home. You’ve helped me buy everything from a car, to a computer, to a TV, to bake ware.

     – Thank you for making holidays and birthdays so special, from decorations to food to gifts.You kept buying those Lego building sets I asked for… until the day you broke my heart and said I was too old for them. I’ve let it go.

     – Thank you for taking me shopping and buying me clothes. I admit, when I was younger the shopping trips were often tedious to me. I still don’t quite have your stamina, but I do enjoy it.

     – Thank you for not cussing (cursing?). I never once heard you say a bad word. You assure me that you may have, at one point in your life, said those words, but I never heard them. 

     – Thank you for serving God and taking me to church. I know Him so much better because of you.

     – Thank you for your honesty and encouragement. You tell me you’re proud of me, and you tell me that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. You also tell me to stop being so dramatic.

     – Thank you for being an example of strength. Through many obstacles you have persevered and maintained your faith.

When I was young I thought I was nothing like her; in the past few years I’ve come to realize that we are practically the same person. When we sing together you can’t tell whose voice is whose. On the phone we sound identical. We are both introverts, both sugar-obsessed (but recovering!), and we both tend to get anxious when things don’t go as we planned.

As I get older my mannerisms, facial expressions, and reactions continue to become more and more like hers. And I’m celebrating that now more than ever. I come from a woman whose experiences have uniquely shaped her and thus me as well. Musing on these things is an endless source of laughter, delight, and insight into God’s design and God’s grace which covers us all.

So here’s to you, mom! I love you and happy birthday.