I should have known it was coming, but I didn’t. I made my usual phone call to my parents on my way home from work – it’s my daily ritual – and Mom wanted to talk about Easter dinner. She had it all planned out: I would bake the ham, the rolls and green beans; she and Daddy would make potato salad, my daughter and niece would bake the cake, and my sister would bring the ice cream.
Notice how my brother never has to do anything….hhhmmmmmmm….
Like a dummy, I asked, “Are we just going to meet at your place after church?”.
“No,” mom said. “We’re doing this at your house,” followed by a very long pause on my end.
“Did I forget to tell you this?”
Yep, she did!
I love my Mom more than words can express, and she loves her family something fierce. During the summer, she likes to do family dinners about once a month. Truth be told, she’d do them weekly if she could manage it.
This year, though, Easter was more than just the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It was also my mother’s 80th birthday.
We joke about getting older, and try to take each day as it comes. But there’s something different when you face your parents’ aging. I can remember being about 7 or 8 and thinking 12 seemed grown up. At 12, 20 seemed old. At 25, 40 seemed old. At 48, I’m not bothered by 60 or even 70. But my mom turning 80? That’s a scarier thought.
Slow down, Mom!
This past week, I took mom on her weekly grocery shopping day. Yes, it takes an entire day because she has to go to every store within a 25 mile radius. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but not by much.
Shopping with mom is an exhausting experience. Her legs move a fast pace; one that leaves me practically jogging to keep up, and those who know me, know that I will never jog….unless I’m possibly being chased by a bear.
Now, let me put this into perspective for you: my mom is a cute, little, white-haired lady who stands all of 4′ 10″ tall. So, she’s like the energizer bunny – little, cute, and never stops. I swear this woman never gets tired! On the other hand, she exhausts me.
After Mom shops, I need a nap.
Mom’s 80th birthday has also made me reflect more on my own life – my childhood, my own motherhood experiences, and wondering just how much longer I will have my mom to share in these things.
In 2007, when she was in and out of the hospital with infections due to sarcoidosis, we thought we would lose her. Then in early 2008, she had a mild stroke, and we were scared again. Now, I find myself thankful for every exhausting step she makes me take while shopping. I’m thankful for every family dinner (even when she plans to have them at my house without telling me). I’m thankful for all of her advice, guidance and wisdom as I navigated my growing up years and raising my own children. I’m also thankful for all her unsolicited advice, which I almost always ended up wishing I had taken.
So, this year was another family Easter dinner that included an 80th birthday celebration. It was at my house, as usual, and mom had forgotten to tell me again (as usual), but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was a day filled with laughter, lots of love, and a birthday cake disaster (compliments of granddaughters) that created even more laughter. Mom smiled and laughed, and was showered in more love than she could fathom. I have a wonderful video of her blowing out her candles and Daddy kissing his birthday girl.
It was, indeed, a perfect day.