Flowers for Mom

P&I drawingIt’s your birthday. You look in the mirror and you can’t imagine who that strange person looking back at you could possibly be–your grandmother, maybe? The family and your friends are all busy and far away and there’s a ton of work to be done, so the party on your big day this year will probably be a cookie or two after dinner while you read the couple of chapters you can fit in before unceremoniously dropping off to sleep in the chair. In the hours between that morning mirror check and dinner, you wonder where all the time went and what could possibly lie ahead.

And then you wonder what your mother experiences on her birthday.

ItΒ is my mother’s birthday today, and I am far away from her and have a ton of work to do, so any party she has will be without me, as it often is anymore. And having had a cascade of health challenges in the last decade or so, she will likely wonder at the speed of the passing years and the uncertainty of those approaching.

But I hope that, somewhere in the midst of all that, she still finds cause for celebration. My own collection of birthdays is growing, as are those of my sisters and families, and for all of these we owe a certain debt of gratitude to Mom for having had the perfect mixture of innocent foolhardiness and courage that it takes to become a mother, not just biologically but with the dedication of throwing umpteen birthday parties for us, coaxing us through the many of those days when there wasn’t time or space for the party, and giving us the love and support it took to each take off on our own and have our full lives. Small as it may be, the birthday gift that I think my mother might like the best is that she created a whole slew of birthday opportunities for us her family and for many others whom she annexed to the bloodline over the years.

We are an exponentially widening universe of what-ifs and why-nots ourselves, each of us growing up, growing older and asking our own questions of the unexpected people we’ve become, and finding and building lives and loves that, in turn, reach out further than any one of us could possibly do alone. That seems to me to be the closest thing to a purpose for existence that silly creatures like humans can have. A pretty grand one, at that.

Thank you, Mama, and may your birthday glow brightly with the expansiveness that you taught the rest of us, and may we pass it along to all the others we cherish illustration from a P&I drawing

27 thoughts on “Flowers for Mom

  1. A very happy birthday to your mom. All moms in the world are the same, they are just exceptional beings. Your post brought tears to my eyes as I wished you were close by her. God bless you for remembering her on her birthday and sharing the feelings with us. Take care Kathryn.

  2. Love your post Kath! Just to let you know, from someone who has been with your Mom twice and spoken on the phone several times since she went home from rehab last Saturday… your Mother is doing the best she has for a really long time; I would say since her third back surgery and before those nasty infections. Today she’s “older & wiser” in the sense that she has learned to be more realistic and careful with herself, and her spirit has been renewed. It is so exciting to see her out of pain! Hope and pray she can have some good quality time now. No one deserves it more.
    See the posts from you and Richard. Busyness abounds for you, but sounds like you are doing well. Give yourselves a big hug from both of us. xoxo a. ing

  3. I’ll say “Happy belated Birthday” to your wonderful Mom, Kathryn, and this post is such a lovely tribute. Not to mention how gorgeous your flowers are…I hope her day was as special as she and you are!

    • I think the birthday celebrating was mostly done in a family pizza dinner with the crew that still reside in the Seattle area, which is a pretty fine way to party if you ask me. πŸ™‚ Just talked to her and Dad tonight and they were out for a little shopping expedition, something I’m thinking is an even *better* birthday gift to Mom considering how much of the last few years has been spent as a partial shut-in with her various health challenges and surgeries!

        • Thank you, my sweet! I don’t think I’ll ever have long, beautiful hair like yours! But it’s still fun to try something a little softer and different from the short ‘do I’ve had for such a number of years. Never too late to play with a little change, eh.

        • I had short hair when the kids were little and now I’m in the “long” phase, but yours is beautiful. The length makes no difference; it’s the face and your lovely smile! πŸ™‚ And yes, change is fun, sometimes! xoxo

  4. Am sending a happy belated blessed birthday greeting to your mom. What a lovely tribute you have written here (hey, she gave ‘us’ you, and that is such a gift to the world we wander in) with such gratefulness for your mother and your family, Kathryn! XO

    • Thank you, John, I’m hoping for the best year for her in a long time, now that she’s home following the latest round of surgeries-and-rehabs. Last we talked, she certainly sounded relieved and looking *forward* in a new way. πŸ™‚

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