Today is my mom’s birthday. Mark Twain once said, “As soon as a man recognizes that he has drifted into age, he gets reminiscent.” I find that statement to be true, not that I admit to being THAT old. However, I do appreciate more now than ever the family and heritage that I have come from.
When I think about my mom, I think about how she did not allow limited means to prevent her kids from having a happy childhood and special times. She taught us the importantance of frugality. It may have meant school supplies that had cereal characters on them or seeing people’s shocked reactions to her very large coupon box she took everytime we grocery shopped. She would always get incredible deals that benefitted the family and she loved sharing what the bill was before her savings kicked in. (I think there were times the stores almost owed her money to take a cart full of food.) However, through the money saved, we did special things. One of my favorites in my days before school were special trips to the drug store where we would get a simple lunch consisting of yogurt, a fruit rollup and juice. Then she and I would take it to the lake and watch the waves and seagulls. It is a cherished time.
When I struggled with kindergarten anxiety after a difficult first day, mom was the one who I found comfort in. The first couple weeks were very difficult with many tears. One time she even had to ride the bus with me, which made things much better until I realized she wasn’t going the entire way. However, she rejoiced with me the day I brought home the “Top Banana Award” for no tears at school.
She helped give me an appreciation for musicals where I learned that people dancing and singing in streets or cornfields wasn’t so weird. I still remember the time she and I sat in our living room after having watched “West Side Story” together and her tender comfort to me after (SPOILER ALERT) Tony died. I was dumbstruck as it wasn’t the happy ending I was anticipating. (Mom, remember when we watched the RLHS musical of “Oklahoma” and I thought seeing the glasses on Jud Fry during the curtain call was what brought him back to life?)
She tenderly sat me down as a small child and had to explain to me that my green blanket which I called my “eye” was in fact a blanket. This was almost too much for me to endure, but she was sensitive to my disbelief. I still remember the mix of fear and jubilance I experienced as a kid as she would stick her ring finger between her teeth at the middle knuckle and chase me. When I thought a loss in the wrestling regional final disqualified me from a state berth, her arms were ones I went to. She consoled me after my first heartache. She held me the night before leaving home for college. She was present as I bought my wife’s engagement & wedding rings (Mom, remember Jeanine?).
I have inherited her love of telling stories, her dash of zany, if not at times off the wall, and appreciation for family. Forty five minute drives to Milwaukee for custard runs weren’t crazy, they were special. Camping for us as a family were weekend getaways to a Holiday Inn with a pool. She never ceases to love, support, encourage and pray for her family.
She, along with my dad, exposed me to youth ministry through their faithful leadership and love for teenagers. That was only possible because of her love of Jesus. Today she continues to actively serve her Lord through active involvement in her church.
She has been a faithful companion to my dad and they continue to enjoy and love life together. That in itself is an incredible example, especially in this day and age. Tomorrow they celebrate 46 years of marriage.
Mom, it is a gift to reminisce about so many memories with you and I look forward to more. Thank you for your love, prayers, encouragement, support and example. You are a joy to know and love. I hope you have a wonderful day. I love you.