Today is her birthday

I am adapting a previous post for today, and posting today instead of tomorrow, because today is my Mom’s birthday; I am thinking about her and didn’t want to wait until Monday! (Did you follow all that?)

For years, many of my siblings and I, along with our spouses and children, gathered at my Mom and Dad’s to celebrate Christmas on December 26, her birthday. I always thought it was kind and patient of her to host us on her birthday, because that meant we didn’t have to drag our little ones from house to house on the other days, and combining the celebrations stretched out the holiday fun. 

My Mom in the 40’s.  She was born in 1922, and unfortunately passed away much too young at 71.


My Mom hung as many as possible of our 2-parent, 9-child household items on the clothesline.  My Dad devised a pulley system for the clothesline from our back porch to one of many tall trees nearby, because our suburban landing was at least 10 concrete steps up. 

I thought that was very cool, and believed that somehow his system alleviated all the effort associated with the task, until my Mother required me to be a part of the process, and I experienced first-hand that lifting and hanging a never-ending supply of wet double bed sheets and terry cloth towels was hard work.  And, for many years to come that is the only way I perceived the task – as hard work.  

My  Mom shared a different perspective on the process. While I cannot say she loved hanging our sheets outdoors, I can tell you she adored and never tired of instructing and asking us to “Smell them, doesn’t that just smell wonderful?”  I would roll my pre-teen eyes, without realizing that there was a very valuable life lesson for me in her actions – my overworked, often-on-the-verge, not-a-moment-to-spare, Mom was taking time to stop and smell the sheets!    

There she was amidst all the chaos and clutter of her completely overloaded and overwhelming life, taking time to savor the moment, and then taking extra time to share her experience with us.   

In retrospect, my Mom did that in other ways, as well – lifting a tablespoon from a simmering pot of her homemade soup or spaghetti sauce to say “Taste this, isn’t it delicious?”  We would drag our whiny, sorry little selves from our chairs or stop for a quick taste as we whizzed through the kitchen on some important kid business. Our responses were often half-hearted, some of us – okay me – begrudging the fact that the soup or sauce being offered was homemade when the majority of my friends were being treated to cans and jars of much more modern fare.    

I now smile each time I replay those scenes in my mind, she was offering me her gold and I was turning-up my nose at her treasures, but that’s what kids do.  

Thankfully, her lessons did seep into my life.  I learned to enjoy the feel and the scent of air-dried clothes, to create, enjoy and savor my own culinary creations and many, many of the other wonderful moments life has to offer. 

Thank you, Mom.  I like that.

Hope you take time today and throughout the week to stop and smell the sheets, the roses, the Christmas tree, a candle or the wood burning, or the scent of snow in the air, and to notice and acknowledge when someone is trying to share their life or their special gifts with you.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

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