Friday, June 08, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom

Mom's Birthday 2011
Yesterday was my mother's birthday. (No, I didn't forget it. In fact, her card and present were there four days early.) But, when I talked to her on the phone yesterday, I realized what I had never done. I thanked my high school English teacher here. I did a tribute to Jim when he died. I did a Mother's Day post for Mom a year ago. But, I've never publicly thanked my mother for everything she's done.. She'll probably be embarrassed, but that's OK. And, my sisters would say the same thing.

My parents both loved to read, but Mom is the one who spent hours working with me, running through vocabulary words on flash cards, and working with spelling. I can read today, not just because of a good Catholic school education, but because my mother cared enough to spend all that time patiently working with me. And, my sisters and I all share a love of books with Mom. For a couple years, I sent her a book a month as a present. Now, all of us call or write about books. And, she called me twice in one day, once to tell me she was enjoying a book I recommended; the second time to tell me she finished it, and darn, it made her cry. Thanks, Mom, for the gift of reading.

My mother shares with all of us a love of games. My mother is competitive, and she's tough to beat. My father quit playing Chinese checkers with her for a while because she always won. Jim used to ask me why I even bothered playing cards with my mother because she beat me 95 out of 100 times. Mom played all kinds of games with us, and I remember her and the neighbor lady jumping rope with us. We had neighborhood volleyball games with a permanent net in our backyard.  Mom and I share a  love for Jeopardy, but my grandmother and one of mom's sisters were also faithful watchers. And, our secret vice is the Game Show Network. We even analyze the skills of the celebrities. We're fans of Dick Clark's Pyramid shows, Password in any format, the Match Game, and Family Feud, particularly with Richard Dawson. Mom inherited a love of pinochle from her mother, shared it with Dad, and taught all of us to play. My youngest sister learned to play pinochle at five. Now, all of Mom's grandkids play. Thanks, Mom, for teaching us to enjoy games.

My grandfather graduated from Ohio State, and Mom loves Ohio State football and basketball. Actually, she loves all college football and basketball. She's the most knowledgeable one in the family about those sports, and Jim used to have me call Mom if we had a trivia question. She made Ohio State block O flags for all of us, and she made Jim & me a Duke flag. I call my mom at half-time of the Ohio State games to analyze the first half with her. We all share Mom's love of sports, and we all proudly fly our Ohio State flags. Thanks, Mom, for sharing that love of sports with us. Oh, and my birthday gift to Mom? It was an Ohio State  Swarovski Crystal Block O necklace.

Mom gives all of us the gift of her time. She was always there for us, and still is. She took the time to write a letter to me every day of my freshman year in college. Now, she SKYPEs with her granddaughter who teaches in South Korea, and sends care packages to the grandkids in college. She attended her grandkids' soccer, volleyball, track and tennis matches (I'm sure I'm missing some sport). She attended Academic Challenge matches, band concerts, plays. She's spent time at the fairs with daughters and grandchildren. She was here in Glendale the day after Jim died, with an open-ended ticket to stay as long as I needed her. She was here again for my first Christmas alone. Thanks, Mom, for the gift of your time.

If you're a friend of my mother's, you have a friend for life. She gets together monthly for lunch with classmates, when she graduated over fifty years ago. (I can say that since I'm fifty-five, so it's no secret that Mom graduated over fifty years ago.) She's known her best friend since sixth grade. They talk on the phone almost every day. Mom stays in touch with a friend she has since I was one. She's in the same card club she joined when I was six. And, when she and I made that road trip to San Diego, we visited a friend Mom has known since the year before I was born. At the same time she keeps those friends, she has made new friends at Curves, at the hospital gift shop where she volunteers, at the symphony  and theater where she once volunteered.  When I think of Mom, I think of a friend.

And, she shares a gift of laughter with all of us. Sometimes I talk to my mom or my sisters on the phone, and can't tell you what we talked about for an hour, other than books. But, we laughed a lot. Thanks, Mom, for that gift of laughter. 

My sisters and I have a mother who shares laughter, a love of reading and games, a passion for college sports, a gift for friendship. Most of all, she shares her time and her love with us. Thank you, Mom. We love you.


Jennifer Shirk said...

That was soooooo sweet! Your mom sounds a lot like my dad. :)

Christie said...

Great job, Lesa. Again, Happy BIrthday, Mom. Love, Christie

Lesa said...

Thank you, Jennifer! Then you have a very special Dad. Isn't it wonderful?

Lesa said...

Thank you, Christie! I just wanted to say that.

Bev Stephans said...

That was an absolutely wonderful tribute to your mother. She sounds like someone I would like for a neighbor.

P.S. You won't tell her I went to the University of Michigan will you? LOL!

Rosemary said...

Beautiful post Lesa, your family must be a very happy one. Were you even nice as teenagers? :)

Happy birthday to your Mum!


Lesa said...


You would love to have my Mom as a neighbor, and she would forgive you for going to the University of Michigan. Although, I have to say, it was a stretch for all of us when one of my nephews even considered Michigan State. He ended up going to Miami of Ohio, thank goodness.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Rosemary. I have to say I THINK we were even nice as teenagers. I was out of the house by the time my youngest sister was a teen, but she ended up OK as an adult, so I think she made it through her teen years. I never heard anyone complain about her behavior! She was involved in 4-H, worked in the library like I did (all three of us worked as pages), she was a good student. I don't think my Mom would say any of us caused her problems! We had great parents & a good family upbringing with lots of family time with our parents & regular visits to grandparents as well. Good way to grow up in a small town.

Janet Fudge said...

Beautifully said, but you forgot to mention what a special aunt she is, remembering and including her nieces and nephews, especially when our own mother is no longer here to fill that role!

Patricia said...

You are truly blessed. Wonderful family. Thank you for sharing this.

Lesa said...

Oh, Janet. Thank you. And, Carol Jeanne made a similar comment on Facebook. I just know how much that will mean to Mom. I didn't call her tonight because Linda just got there for the weekend. But, I'll give her a short call tomorrow morning. Thank you!

Lesa said...


I agree. I am blessed with a wonderful family. Thank you.

Ingrid King said...

What a lovely tribute to your mom, Lesa. It was nice to learn a little more about her.

Jane R said...

What a sweet tribute to you mom. They are pretty special people, aren't they?!

Kaye Barley said...

What a very special tribute to such a special woman. This is beautiful, Lesa!
And no wonder you're so delightful! You would have to be with a family as wonderful as yours. This was a pleasure to read and I thank you for sharing it with us.
Hugs my friend!

Carol M said...

Happy Birthday to your Mom! That was a wonderful post! She is a wonderful mother and friend.
We will be celebrating my mom's 90th birthday in September! She is my best friend! :)

Lesa said...

Ingrid, Jane, Kaye & Carol,

Thank you so much! It was so nice to write about my mother. And, I appreciated my cousin, Janet's comment, too.

Hugs, Kaye. Thank you! I know how close you are to your mother.

And, I feel the same way about my mother, Carol. Enjoy your time with her!