Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy 75th Birthday, Mom!

Mother's Day came and went and I didn't share my heart...my excuse for procrastination was no time. After all, I was heading home to the states in 3 short days. Then came, June 30th, Mom's 75th birthday, and once again, I let a special opportunity to try and express my heartfelt gratitude for her beautiful selfless life slip through my fingers. Maybe it's best that I'm writing...or at least trying to write...this tribute on just an ordinary day because really and truly, it's on these ordinary days when I'm doing ordinary things that I'm mindful of Mom in a special way and reminded of how blessed I am to be this amazing lady's daughter.

Up front I'd like to confess that the real reason for my procrastination has nothing to do with lack of time, but rather everything to do with an irritating personality trait of perfectionism. Truly, I realize the limits of my own writing ability and know that there's no way to adequately put into words the admiration, appreciation, and love that I feel...kind of like the lyrics from The Sound of Music...How do you catch a wave and pin it down? The task is impossible, but today I'm refusing to accept that as an excuse and choosing instead to at least try.

Daily, I admit that I'm in awe. "How does Mom do it?" is a question I've asked myself over and over and after much pondering think the answer is really not that difficult. The truth is that Mom has always chosen, and still chooses today, to live the life of a servant...my mind is flooded with waaaaay too many examples to share in this blog! However, I'd like to elaborate on just a few to illustrate my point, and more importantly, to honor Mom by letting her know that buried in the hearts of her family and friends are treasure chests overflowing with memories of her loving kindness and thoughtful ways.

One of the examples that has been dear to me over the years is the way in which Mom sacrificially gave years of time to her children's schools as a volunteer. As both a mom and teacher, I know that having parents willing to be involved in the life of a school can make a tremendous difference. Even though there never seems to be enough hours in the day to take care of all of life's responsibilities, Mom never used this as an excuse for not helping. In fact, she not only volunteered at the schools, but also with scouts, little leagues, Job's Daughters, children's theatre, and a multitude of other activities. Makes me tired just thinking about it! Did I say that I was in awe?

Anyone who has been married for a number of years, knows that in order to nurture your relationship, you must be a servant... regularly placing your spouse's needs and wants before your own. Being a parent also requires the same sort of sacrifice...in our family, this sacrifice was x's 7! Needless to say, I'm totally in awe at Mom's ability to love us all so much that she was able to give, and give, and give, even when it meant that she went without...without sleep, without new clothes..., without even time to call her own. Mom and Dad were married for 54 for years before Dad passed away. During their last 11 or so years together, Dad suffered from kidney failure and all the bad stuff that came with it. It's always given me and continues to give me great peace knowing that during their most difficult times, Mom was right there caring for and lovingly serving Dad in ways I'll never fully comprehend, but for which I'll forever be grateful.

In choosing a last example, I'm remembering my recent visit home. During this visit, I was treated to several precious moments spent with Mom's friends. First, there was the next door neighbor, a little boy not more than 5 or 6, who just came over to talk :) Apparently, he and Mom along with some other little girls in the neighborhood all exchange love letters and little gifts like freshly baked cookies and holiday treats. Then, there were Mom's new friends from the Camarillo House who shared how much they enjoy Mom and her caring ways. Finally, there was our special lunch with Mom's dearest high school friends, my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Simon, who always bless me by reminding me of how much they love and appreciate Mom. All of these friends have richer lives because of.....

Mom, a beautiful woman whom I'm very proud of.... not perfect, just excellent, and forever a blessing in my life!
Happy Birthday, Mom!

I'm not entirely sure of whom my blog readers are, but if per chance Mom has touched your life in a special way and you'd like to join me in honoring her with your thoughts, please feel free to comment.


Shawna Bell said...

What beautiful words about your mother. I too have been touched by her in so many ways as a daughter-in-law. It seems like yesterday that I joined your wonderful, fun, large family but it has been 19 years! She is intimidating as a mother-in-law because of her multitude of talents. I knew from the beginning that I would never achieve her skills as a cook, seamstress or hostess but I have chosen to observe and learn as much as possible. My family has now adopted some of the Bell holiday traditions such as prime rib at Christmas and hot dogs for Halloween. She is the original "Martha Stewart"!!

Hugs and Kisses to a amazing mother-in-law, great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and friend.

Love, Shawna
Daughter-in-law #3

David Michael said...

Sweet words! Your mother definitely did some things right--Ms. Perfection. :)

Anonymous said...

What can I say, she is the big sister I didn't have,my
very best and closes friend, my sounding board,my
can you remember the recipe for such and such that
we made in the 50's. I especially enjoy the times we
have now as older ladies on our few days we have
together just doing what we please and of course lots
of talking and reminiscing about how great our
children are and were. Of course we give Dick and
Simon a little bit of credit and know we truly had
the best of times. I cannot my life without her.
Thank you Tracey for giving me this opportunity.
Love, Auntie Barbara