Happy 67th Birthday, Mom

As always we are  missing you this day

A photo collection of a few pictures of my Mother on her 67th Birthday

Mom as a baby
Mom at 13
Mom in her 20s in Washington, D.C.
My most favorite picture of my Mother
My parents shortly after they were married
My parents on their wedding day in Rockville, MD in 1971
My mom and my sister in 1972
My mom and a baby me and my big sister in 1978
My Mom and my brother in the early 90s
My Mom and Dad and their dog, Minni
Me and my parents at my college graduation in 2007
The last picture I ever took of my mother, on my daughter’s birthday in 2007

This is the fifth birthday we’ve celebrated without you, Mom. The last birthday you had on earth was your 62nd. Unfortunately you were sick that day and we never got to celebrate it. I’ll never forget it because it was the night of that horrible Trolley Square tragedy. The siblings and I always get together on your birthday to talk about you and to celebrate your life.  We have lots of funny stories to share.  You always made everyone laugh.  Whenever I tell a “punny” joke, I think of you.  

I got to be honest, this time of year is hard for me.  Sometimes I get so angry because I don’t understand why you had to go.  It’s in these moments I hate cancer so much.  Losing you has had a profound affect on my life.  I can never go back to the person I was before your cancer diagnosis.  She is gone now too.  Sometimes I look at the women around me who are about my age who take their mothers for granted and I just want to shake them and ask them if they know how lucky they are.  The thing that hurts the worst, though, is that I feel the years slipping away from the last time I was with you.  The other day I was reading some emails from when you were sick and they just felt like it was such a long time ago.  And if that was a long time ago, that means it was a long time ago that I had a mom.  That I had you.

Whenever I read a good book I know you would enjoy, I wish I could give it to you so I could call you up later and we could talk about it, like we used to.  I miss your guidance and direction in my life.  I miss your unconditional love and support of me.  You used to tell me that I was as smart as I was beautiful, and I would believe you when you said it.  I wish I could call you up and tell you your only granddaughter started piano lessons this week, carrying on our family tradition.  She practices on the same piano Poppy played, that grandma left to me when she died.  I wish I could tell you the funny and/or cute thing your littlest grandson namesake did.  I wish I could tell you how my oldest son is addicted to video games like his father, and you would laugh and shake your head.  I wish I could tell you how smart, funny, and sweet all your grandkids are.  How great it is that the cousins are forever friends.  You would be so proud of them.  

I wish you could wrap your arms around me when I cry when people are big meany heads or when life seems too overwhelming sometimes.  All of these I took for granted when you here, alive and well.  Back when life made sense.  I have faith, mommy, that I’ll see you again and that you’re watching over us right now as our own personal guardian angel.  But like M’lynn says in Steel Magnolias, “maybe I’m just selfish because I’d rather have her here.”  

Life goes on.  Your death taught us that.  You left a great legacy behind you.  Children who love and miss you.  Grandchildren who are proud to be yours.  You left a piece of you with all of us.  I can feel you in so many moments.  Tender moments with my children and I flashback to a time of you and I together when I was a child.  Every time I finish a book.  Whenever I wear a piece of your jewelry.  Whenever someone laughs at one of my jokes or tells me I look like you.  I feel you in those moments.  Recently Jessica’s mom said that I look like you and I was so proud in that moment.  What greater legacy can you leave me than your face in mine?  Your eyes in mine?

I hope that I make you proud as a mother and as a daughter.  I’m who I am today because of you.  I’m trying to instill the lessons and values you imprinted on my heart into your grandchildren.  They are kind and that’s what matters to me most.  You might be gone, but you’re still a part of my world.

Happy Birthday, Mom…


Your Girl Baby

(Edited to add:  my kind friends let me write up a post on their blog in tribute to my mother about taking her endowments out as her proxy a few years ago)

Happy Birthday, Beautiful Boy!

Eight years ago today I gave birth to this beautiful boy.  He came into the world right at midnight screaming his lungs out.  And that was after hours of me screaming out mine.  He was 4 weeks early, but healthy as could be, just a little small.  His birth was traumatic for me because I was forced into a natural childbirth by an incompetent nurse who couldn’t tell the difference between an abrupted placenta that required an emergency C-section, and a bladder infection.  Luckily I listened to my own instincts and went back to the hospital, instead of listening to said incompetent nurse and staying home and bleeding to death.

However eventful his birth was, after all was said and done, it was very joyous.  It was the last birth of any grandchild my mother was able to attend on Earth.  Six weeks later my little buddy came down with a nasty case of RSV and was hospitalized for a week.  I nursed him so I was in the hospital every hour with him.  The hospital had to feed me since I was feeding the baby.  Once he was released he was still on oxygen for a while and was not allowed to leave the house until Spring.  That made for a long winter for us both.  Luckily, my sister had her second child 16 1/2 hours before I had my little buddy and she was on maternity leave too and would come over with her two children and we both got some much needed adult contact.

I thought this beautiful boy would be saddled with asthma for the rest of his life, just like his mommy, and I grieved for him for having to endure the things I’ve had to endure in my life.  Luckily, by the time he went to his kindergarten check-up, there was not a single trace of asthma (I credit this to frequent chiropractic visits, but I have no actual scientific proof).

Now, my beautiful boy is a tall, gangly, 8 year old.  At every birthday I marvel at how quickly life is going.  I am so fortunate to be this boy’s mother.  He makes me laugh on a daily basis with his wit.  He makes me marvel at his intelligence.  He makes my heart happy with how kind and thoughtful he is.  He is a gift to the world.

This is a lullaby, or “baby song” as my youngest likes to call them, that I have sung to all of my children.  I sing it to my kids often.  They know every word.  Today I dedicate it to my beautiful boy.

Happy Birthday, Baby D!

Today my little sunshine boy turns 3. I can’t believe it. The last three years have gone by so fast.
He came into my life when I desperately needed something to look forward to, something to give me hope, something worth living for.
I found I was pregnant with him very early. We’re talking like maybe 5 weeks along. On a whim I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. The hubs and I were very happy. With one boy and one girl already, we thought we were done. But we both recognized in an instant the gift our family was being given.
Later that day I went to the hospital to visit my dying mother. It was the first time she had allowed us to see her in a couple of months because going through chemo took so much out of her she had no energy for visitors. Having to interact with people literally caused her pain, and I didn’t want her in more pain than she was already in.
I walked into her room and kissed her on the cheek. She woke up and said, “oh, it’s you. I love you!” We talked for a long time. She wanted me to update her on every new aspect of my life. My new job, how the kids were, etc. She kept asking me and finally I ran out of things to say. I didn’t know if I would ever get another moment to tell her, so I told her that I was pregnant. The same day I found out. I’ve never done that before. Somehow I knew that this pregnancy was going to be fine and I could tell her. She told me that she would pick us out the best one and she would see the baby on the way up.
Then mom blabbed it to my sister and brother, and pretty soon I had to tell my Dad. She was pretty high on morphine and I didn’t want him to find out from my Mom and then think she was just having another hallucination.
She died three weeks later.
I don’t know how I got through the funeral. I don’t know how you get through those days. You have no choice. You just have to.
It just so happened that my 20 weeks fell on my Mom’s birthday. I could have had my 20 week ultrasound a week before that, but I chose to do it on my mother’s birthday. I figured my family could use some good news that day.
That day in the ultrasound room with just the hubs, me, and the ultrasound tech, the spirit was so strong. I could feel my mother’s presence in the room. The tech told us it was a beautiful baby boy, and I cried. We had already decided that no matter what the baby would be named after my Mom. Being a boy, he was named her maiden name.
June 20, 2008 was one of the best days of my life. My sister, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law Emily were all in the room with me and the hubs when this little miracle baby was born. He was a full 3 pounds bigger than my last child (and boy, did I feel every pound). He was so beautiful and instantly, instantly loved.
In the last 3 years, he has brought so much happiness into our lives. He really is our little sunshine boy. He’s the happiest child I’ve ever known. His older sister and brother adore him and look out for him. He loves to have “nuggle” (snuggle) time with me and that is some of my most tender moments.
My mom promised to pick out the best one for us, and she really did.
Happy Birthday sweet baby D!

Happy Birthday to the Hubs!

Today is the hubs’ birthday. A couple of years ago I wrote this poem for him in honor of Valentine’s Day. I’m going to repost it again in honor of his birthday.

Ode to Casey

You are so tall
That I’m able to wear
All my high-heeled shoes
With lots of flair.

Your kisses are sweet
And hugs are so good
That I know I will always
Want you in my ‘hood.

You are such a geek
That I’m not able to resist
All your geek boy charms
In fact, I tend to insist.

You make me happier
Than I ever thought I could be
And I’m ecstatic to exclaim
“Yay! He picked me!”

I love you, my dearest
With all my heart
And that will never change,
No matter how often you fart.

Happy Birthday, hubs! I love you!

Welcome to the World, Baby Girl

At 1:47 a.m. this morning my oldest child, and only daughter, turned 10 years old. Wow, 10 years. A decade of being a mother to this beautiful girl.
When she was born a switch was turned on inside of me. It is the switch that would make me give my own life for hers. Which would allow me to protect her at all costs. The switch that made realize what unconditional love actually is. I never knew a love so deep and so fierce at the same time.
She has brought something to my life that it is hard to put into words. I had to grow up in the instant I realized she was growing inside me. I became second best in my life. There is something about motherhood that should make you drop most of your own selfishness and self-importance. There isn’t anything glamorous about getting pooped on while changing a diaper at 3:00 in the morning. From the second she was born her health became more important to me than my own. Her well-being more important to me than my own. Her happiness more important than my own.
When my daughter was born, a hole was filled in my heart that I didn’t even know was there. A part of my heart was more complete. And it has become even more complete with the birth of each one of her brothers. Which is funny, because with the birth of each of my children, I felt a piece of my heart leave that will forever walk around outside of my body in each of them.
Now that my daughter is getting older, I mourn the baby she once was. However, I love the relationship we are settling into right now. The one were we can have “girl time” and get pedicures together and she opens up to me about her friendships and the boys she has crushes on. I hope I’ve laid a good enough foundation of friendship, trust, and mothering with her that we will continue to have a good relationship when she is a teenager.
If there is any legacy I could leave my daughter, it would be love. Love is stronger than any tidal wave, more courageous than any super hero, and more powerful than any other force on earth. When I’m gone I want her to remember how much I love her so that she can carry that with her the rest of her life and never doubt it. I want her to give her own love generously and use it to help those around her. I don’t want her to ever doubt the she is a beloved child of God and her parents.
Happy Birthday, my sweet baby girl. The day you came into my life was the happiest I’ve ever known. Thank you for blessing my life with yours.

February 12th

Dear Mom,

Happy Birthday! Today you would have turned 66. I remember when I was little figuring out that when you were 66 and I was 33, I would finally be half your age. I guess I didn’t count on you not living to see 66.
We all miss you. I know I think of you every day. Today I was looking at some pictures of you and I caught myself smiling. I’m glad that looking at your picture now brings joy to my heart instead of sadness.
Some people are regretful when someone they love dies because they left with so many things unsaid. I know there was nothing left unsaid between us. That brings me peace. I know you loved me in this life. And you know that I love you.
I know no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. And this parenting stuff is hard. But I know you tried your best. You were the perfect mom for us. What I loved and appreciated most is that you always accepted me for who I was. I know that you had an unconditional love for me.
Thank you for everything you did for me. Thank you for the things that you sacrificed on my behalf so that I could have an education, grow up in a safe place, and have all my needs met. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving me my roots and for your belief in me.
Today we celebrate you. For the beautiful life you had. No, not everything was perfect and you suffered some real hurts. But your courage, grace, and humor touched every who knew you.
I love you, Mom. You are always, always in my heart.
Your Girl Baby
“For Good” from the musical Wicked
I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true
But I know I’m who I am today
Because I knew you…

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good

It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime
So let me say before we part
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend…

Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea
Like a seed dropped by a skybird
In a distant wood
Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed
For Good

It’s my birthday!

And I’m gonna live it up!

So far I made myself homemade waffles. And I’m working on a red velvet birthday cake with cream cheese frosting.
Next the fam is going to spend the whole day at the pool.
For dinner….the best place on earth….Maddox! Yummy chicken.
Off to celebrate!