Tag Archives: birthday

Happy Birthday Mom

 Mom III (489x640)

Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. She would be 86 years old. She died from lung cancer at 73. I miss her. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think of her. I guess that’s pretty true of almost anyone that has lost a parent. No matter when. No matter the age. The age of the child or the age of the parent. Doesn’t matter. Parents are greatly missed when they aren’t there anymore.

My mom was what writer’s call a complex character. She would be charming and civil one minute and downright mean the next. But she never meant to be mean, I know that. Most people don’t, it just happens sometimes.

My mom’s mother could be a handful too. Maybe that’s why Mom became a little like my grandmother. Grandma took in laundry to make money to raise three kids. Her husband had left her when my mom was twelve. He came back, but not until Mom was twenty-five and had a child of her own. A little too late you might say. Mom had to hold on to herself in the midst of a depression and a time that wouldn’t tolerate fools or anyone remotely resembling a soft character. I suppose that’s part of it.

So Mom was hard on Dad sometimes. And hard on me and my brother sometimes too. But she made up for it with her dry sense of humor and her quick retorts, her fast comebacks to sass or smart words that I would dish out to her.

And she loved being with people. This seems to be a contradiction to her sometimes melancholy ways. I think she thought of people as her saving grace. I know they thought of her that way.

She was quick to make fun of herself. She made fun of her big hair, her inaptitude at housekeeping and cooking. Her driving skills were somewhat questionable and she knew it.

Her sense of self was very strong. She knew what she wanted and when. Lord help anyone that tried to get in her way, including my dad. She was stubborn that way.

When she died it was on her terms. She told my daughter she would be there for her high school graduation and she was. She made it to her 73rd birthday and had a great time with a lot of friends and relatives where she joked about not having a hat big enough to cover her large bald head. Eleven days later she died. She wasn’t supposed to go that soon. Even hospice said she had a good two or more months to go. But she wouldn’t allow it. She was stubborn that way. And I miss her.

Doors (not to be confused with the band)

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WINE

We open doors all day.  And we close doors pretty much all day too.  Front doors to our homes, closets, cabinets, retail stores, restaurants, office doors, coworkers’ office doors, bosses doors, bedroom doors. 

We open and close in oh so many ways.  Some doors lead to opportunities, chance meetings, friendships, relationships.  I like to think I open all of the aforementioned doors, but I don’t.  Not always.  Sad to say, a lot of times I close them.  Most of the time I regret it, but can’t say that’s always the case. And a lot of times I don’t open a door just because it’s so very cold on the other side.

I guess you could say I am in a reflective state right now.  Today is my birthday and I really don’t know where the time went.  I know everybody says the very same thing and I am definitely no different but it gets harder and harder each year to shake that feeling that I closed way too many doors and didn’t open enough.  And then there are the times I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and someone closed the door for me.

But what if, just for argument’s sake, I missed that opportunity, or that friendship just because I didn’t open myself up to the new experience.  It’s always safer to stay on the same old safe side of the door then to walk through it and right into new territory.  It’s always easier to eat the same bologna sandwich every day for lunch because you know you like it then it is to add spicy mustard or potato chips or go hog wild and have an entirely different kind of meal for lunch.  What if you don’t like it?  What if you get a stomach ache from it? 

LIfe is full of examples of those that didn’t open the door.  There’s the first book editor that rejected J.K. Rowling’s request to represent her.  Al Pacino turned down the role of Harrison Ford’s career as Hans Solo.  Decca Records sent the Beatles packing before EMI gave them their first recording contract.  There was originally a third founder of Apple besides Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.  He sold his stock for $800.  Today his share of Apple stock would be worth over $55 billion.

Consequently, what if you succeed?  Here’s a crazy idea; swallow the butterflies, tell ‘failure’ to take a flying leap.  I’m not saying that doing so would have made me a super rich tycoon or I would ever have had the opportunity to compete with Julia Roberts for the Pretty Woman role.  Nor had a chance to team up with the likes of Oprah and become a world class philanthropist.  But, then again, will I ever know?

What I do know is that I can celebrate the doors that I have opened.  And be glad of some of those doors that I closed or left completely alone as well.  I also know that as long as I keep celebrating birthdays I will keep witnessing doors and keep having to figure out if I open them, close them, or just walk away.  In the meantime, I’m going to have to go now.  My husband is asking if I want to go to dinner for my birthday.  I’m opening the door I closed to our office to give him a shout, saying “What’s the matter with you? Of course I do!  Just let me get my coat!  It’s a little chilly out.”

(I need comments.  Please let me know what doors you have opened or closed and what you have learned in hindsight.)