Thursday, April 26, 2007
To Mother on her 90th Birthday, April 24, 2007
I have always enjoyed hearing your stories about your past--learning what you experienced during your childhood and young adult years, and thinking about what you were like as a girl and as an ambitious, adventurous young woman.
As I have grown older, I have gained more and more admiration for your courage and determination. I think your life has been a remarkable and inspirational journey. I see a lot of you in me. This apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, though sometimes I wish I were even more like you! I am always aware that I have a long way to go to live up to your high standard.
I’ve been amused by the stories of you as a young girl reading books in the trees while you were supposed to be watching the cows. I know how much you have always loved reading, and I know how much of my childhood I spent with my nose in a book. I’m glad no one expected me to watch the cows at the same time!
I’ve been inspired by the stories of you working in the clothing factory as a teenager, dreaming of a different life, working hard to have a chance for an education. I am awed by the courage it must have taken to leave home and travel half way across the country at twenty-one to attend high school. Would I have done the same?
You dreamed of studying literature, art, and music—and made sure your children had all the opportunities you did not. But you married this handsome fellow, and had these five children, so not all of your dreams came true… I’m not sure I’ve ever said thank you for that.
When I look at this photo I can hear you say “What a bunch!”
My own Joseph and Alex have helped me appreciate all you did for me.
If I’ve learned anything as a parent, it is that children don’t always do what you want or expect! You must have been pretty frustrated to watch as I wore jeans everyday when I could have worn beautiful clothes. I had great music teachers, and a wonderful education, but I didn’t always have the self-confidence to make the best of my opportunities.
I think I’ve learned most of the lessons you were trying to teach me, just a little later than you hoped!
Happy, Happy Birthday, Mother dear. I love you!
at 3:25 PM