Today is my Mother’s birthday. I just got off the phone with her. Yes, that’s right. The Phone! She finally got her cell phone and we’ve actually had a couple of conversations on it already. Tonight was the first time to call her on her cell…and she was out shopping! At 8:30! Where? The second hand store, her favourite place on the planet, of course.
She told me about a couple things she had put in her cart, thinking I might like them. She described them to me, and they weren’t anything I thought I truly needed or wanted, so I politely declined. I thanked her for thinking of me. She thanked ME for thinking of HER on her birthday.
I admit I lost track of time and am late getting a birthday card out to her. I made one myself, and will send it with a drawing Maddie did for her, too. I’m always stumped for gift ideas for Mom. She has everything…possibly triplicate of many things. I don’t want to contribute to the pile. I know many gifts I’ve given in the past are still in the original packaging.
Gift cards are not a good alternative. Lynn & I have tried that in the past. Mom can’t ever decide on something “special enough” to use them on, so they expire or get lost unspent.
If we lived closer to each other I would take her out of lunch, or on an excursion of some sort. I like the idea of spending time with her and experiencing a memory together instead of exchanging material things. She’s too tired to travel to me for a visit, and I know all the stairs in our split level home are tough for her to manage while she’s here. But at least we have a bed for her here. She can’t offer the same if I tried to visit her.
What I’d really like to do is pay for a month or two of a bill…perhaps her new cell phone bill, or a portion of her gigantic oil bill. She has a fixed income. I’m not at all sure how she manages to pay for anything really! How far can one stretch an old age pension and a disability benefit? But I’d need her account information, and she’s not about to hand that over.
So, I’ll send my belated card and try to be on time for Mother’s Day instead. I really miss her. I miss the way I remember her, before the walls of stuff grew so high. I send the warmest of birthday wishes to a woman who drove me to all my dance lessons, music lessons, competitions and performances. Who sewed 50 air freshener skunks to raise money to go to my competitions. Who bragged about me to anyone who’d listen. Who could just give me that “look” and I’d behave. Who bought a book of Jello recipes and spent the summer with me trying out 50 ways to create desserts with the worlds favourite gelatine treat. Who instilled in me a love of reading, art, creating by hand. Who showed me there’s no limit to the power of creativity. Who respected me, listened to me, cried when I cried, and laughed when I laughed. Who embodied warmth & patience (and stubborness, too). Who tried so hard to keep everything equal between her two daughters. Who stowed away money for years so I could graduate college debt-free. Who stayed with me and helped when my daughters were born. Who shaped the person I am today.
For any faults I might find with her, there are many, many more qualities. I’ll remember them not just today but everyday. Happy birthday.