An epic convergence of all things maternal took place over the weekend, with a celebration of my mom’s 70th birthday on Saturday, followed by Mother’s Day on Sunday. The birthday party was a Kentucky Derby theme, with roses, mint juleps and all kinds of delicious Southern treats. Nearly 60 people gathered to honor Mom, and you better believe the ladies took full advantage of the opportunity to wear a spectacular hat.
Music…Fitness…Faith…Family. These are the threads woven through my mom’s life, and they were all represented at the party. Her family was there. Her childhood friends (“the original free-range kids”) were there. Her college roommates were there. Her church friends were there, and so were her book club friends, gym friends and choral society friends. A divorce didn’t end her affection for her in-laws, who were also there (“You can’t get rid of us!” laughed my aunt), as was the woman who later married my dad.
Among the hat-wearing, julep-sipping crowd were a concert pianist, an avid runner and more singers than you could count. Our rendition of “Happy Birthday” was positively symphonic, with my daughter, an occasional vocal student of her grandmother’s, directing. Later, when Mom bemoaned the fact that she couldn’t join her friend in running a half-marathon again this year, her pal playfully consoled her, saying, “Remember, I’m only 69.”
Every mom knows that motherhood can be a thankless task, so I decided that this was the perfect chance to thank my mom for all she’s done – especially the things I didn’t really appreciate at the time. I’m sharing my toast mostly in hopes that it will inspire some gratitude for all moms, but also because I got a little too choked up to get all the way through it at the party. Here it is…
Mom, thank you for all the vegetables and whole grains. I’m healthier today because of them.
Thank you for always jogging around the neighborhood in a certain light blue velour sweat suit. You showed me the benefits of exercise and physical fitness.
Thank you for always making me practice the piano and clean my room before going out with my friends. You helped me keep my priorities straight and my bed made.
Thank you for allowing only Classical or Oldies radio in your car. You broadened my musical horizons far beyond the Top 40.
Thank you for taking me to church on Sundays. You gave me a lifelong gift of faith.
Thank you for listening. Your attention taught me how to be more thoughtful toward others.
Thank you for giving. Your kindness showed me how to be generous with my time and energy.
Most of all, thank you for always being there. Your presence made me feel loved.
Now, your mom may not be a clean eating, high intensity interval training, churchgoing opera diva like mine, but I have a feeling she’s done many, many things over the years that merit recognition. Don’t wait until next year’s Mother’s Day. Give her a tip of the hat today.