To my mother on her 80th Birthday

Wow! 80 sounds so much older than I know you are. And at the same time 80 is such a small number compared to the depth and richness of what you have only so far lived. And here gathered just some of us who hold parts of your life in ours. Watching you mangage the issues of aging, I can only think that being reminded of how relevant you continue to be might be a gift.

I will say that the world you have lead me through, a world filled with people like your friends here, who are present, who read, who educate themselves, speak out, and show up, has been a gift to me and one I don´t take lightly. You continue to care, to be involved, to walk in a way that demonstrates connection to the world, and I admire you greatly for that.

I won´t get in to how ironic it is that while you have always told me to respect authority, to follow the rules, to not make waves, you have modeled very well how to do just the opposite but within a lawful, civil framework.

I am living what I was brought up on. You however crossed a river in your life as you left your revival baptist roots and forged your own way. I can´t know what this like, and I admire you greatly for that as well.

You have given this daughter and appreciate for beauty, in its musical form, in its visual form, in its written form, and in its performance form. From the beauty of a well laid table in a humble household, to the beauty of friends gathering and singing, to the beauty I see when I look out at my pond. I am grateful to you that I can see it, feel it, and hear it. That is a life lifting gift not affected by what the GOP does to teachers, or to poor children, or to humanity in general.

So on this occassion to celebrate and honor you, I want to say to you, my mom, I remember. I remember the magic only you could add to taking out the Christmas decorations and creating sparkly, twinkly mystery. I remember you getting us dressed and clothed (those being separate things :-) and out the door. I remember you sweating over the Sunday roast beef in the days before A/C and the sound of the attic fan roaring. I remember you showing up in all your strength, judgement cast aside, at each of the crisis/tragedies that struck my life. I remember us fighting bitterly but always finding a way back, with the door each time open wider. I remember your beautiful voice filling the house with music. And I remember the bun warmer with the pictures of penguins all around.

What I am trying to say is that I remember. I will always remember. And that is my gift to you today. I love you. Thank you for being.